Egypt's foreign minister said in remarks published Wednesday that his government would not allow Israel to bomb areas along the Egypt-Gaza border where arms smuggling is believed to occur.
Ahmed Aboul Gheit told the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that any Israeli bombing in the so-called Philadelphia corridor would violate international treaties.
"If this were to happen, it would be considered a breach of all the Palestinian-Israeli agreements. It is not possible that we would accept that or let it pass as if nothing happened," he was quoted as saying.
Aboul Gheit also denied Egypt was responsible for any cross-border smuggling.
His comments came a day after he told reporters in Cairo that Egypt could handle security on the Egypt-Gaza border.
"Egypt's border with Gaza is a matter of sovereignty between Egypt and the Palestinians," Aboul Gheit said. He proposed building surveillance towers and sending more Egyptian patrols to the border area.
Israel has complained Egypt has not done enough to halt the arms flow into Gaza - weapons that Israeli officials say are used in attacks against the Jewish state.
On Sunday, Egypt's official media reported that some 5,000 police forces were dispatched to the border following reports that Israeli aircraft might bomb the area in a bid to destroy tunnels used to smuggle weapons. President Hosni Mubarak later denied that, apparently after complaints from Israel that the move should have been coordinated with Israel.
Under their 1979 peace agreement, Egypt is allowed only a small number of police forces in areas close to the border with Israel.
Egypt took control of security along the Egypt-Gaza border a year ago, after signing an agreement with Israel to take responsibility for preventing arms smuggling corridor.