'Barak agrees to Egypt deploying troops in Sinai'

'Economist' reports that defense minister says the thousands of troops will have helicopters, armored vehicles but not tanks.

Egypt border Barak 311 (photo credit: Defense Ministry / Ariel Hermoni)
Egypt border Barak 311
(photo credit: Defense Ministry / Ariel Hermoni)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that Israel will agree to Egypt deploying thousands of troops in Sinai even though the Israel-Egypt peace treaty strictly forbids it, The Economist magazine reported on Friday.
Barak, who according to the British weekly is backed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, said that "the troops will have helicopters and armored vehicles, but no tanks beyond the lone battalion already stationed there."
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“Sometimes you have to subordinate strategic considerations to tactical needs,” Barak said.
According to The Economist, Barak did not downplay Israel’s long-term concern or the risk in what he is proposing. The new troops allowed into Sinai are unlikely ever to be withdrawn by any Egyptian government, according to the magazine.
A week after the terror attacks near Eilat, the IDF remained on high alert along the border with Egypt amid fears that additional terror cells might be in the Sinai on their way to carry out similar attacks along Israel’s southern border.
The attacks, which took place last Thursday near the Netafim Crossing, were carried out by around 20 operatives from the Gaza-based Popular Resistance Committees.
Some of the terrorists crossed into Israel and others remained on the Egyptian side of the border. Eight Israelis were killed in the series of attacks.
Early Monday morning, shots were fired at IDF troops deployed along Israel’s border with Egypt, not far from the scene of last week’s attacks. Soldiers returned fire and flares were launched but the shooter was not located.
“The level of alert is still high,” an IDF source said on Monday. “We are concerned that terrorists are still roaming throughout the Sinai who could be plotting another attack.”
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