An Egyptian soldier on the Israeli border in Sinai 311 (R).
(photo credit: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)
Egypt and Israel have agreed to increase the number of Egyptian troops in the Sinai border region after an eruption of violence in the area, a high-ranking security official told Reuters on Friday.
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"After continued negotiations there is now an initial agreement between Egypt and Israel to deploy more Egyptian troops in the Sinai region," the Egyptian security official said, asking to remain anonymous.
The agreement was reached during long-running talks over border security. But the official said negotiations were pushed along by a deadly attack by gunmen
last week, who killed eight Israelis. Israel said the attackers infiltrated from Gaza via the Sinai region.
The Egyptian offcial's comments would appear to confirm a report in The Economist
on Friday which quoted Defense Minister Ehud Barak as saying Israel
would agree to an increase in Egyptian troops in the Sinai to tighten
An Egyptian intelligence official told Reuters that Israel had become
more responsive to Egypt's demands for deploying more troops and weapons
there but could not confirm the report.
"Sinai is Egyptian land and yet our army has no control over it because
of a decades-old peace treaty that limits Egyptian troops. Israel has no
right to wag its finger at Egypt for security problems at the border
unless it is willing to keep an open mind and negotiate amendments with
Egypt," said Ali Abdullah, 31.
In response to the report in The Economist
, Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin instructed
the Knesset's legal adviser Eyal Yinon to examine whether the option of
deploying thousands of Egyptian troops in Sinai would require Knesset
"It is quite possible that the permission to allow the introduction of
Egyptian forces in Sinai, which is defined as a demilitarized zone as
part of the peace agreement, will require the approval of the Knesset,"
said Rivlin. "It is not enough that there is an agreement between the
defense minister and prime minister, without the approval of the