An Egyptian soldier on the Israeli border in Sinai 311 (R).
(photo credit: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)
Egypt is considering establishing a 5km.-deep buffer zone along its border with
the Gaza Strip, the Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper reported Sunday, quoting
high-level Egyptian security sources.
Two Gaza rockets hit South after reported cease-fire
Egyptian military officials are
finalizing a plan to combat smuggling from the Sinai Peninsula into the strip,
the report said, adding that heavy excavation equipment had already been moved
into the border town of Rafah. The equipment is capable of destroying tunnels up
to 20 meters below surface level.
Egyptian official: Israel agrees to Sinai troop increase
Israel Radio reported this week that
Egypt’s army is planning to destroy all tunnels within 14 km. of the
Another high-level army source told the Egyptian daily that Cairo
is studying the possibility of modifying the peace treaty with Israel regarding
the number of Egyptian troops allowed in Sinai. An Israeli source, however, told
the AFP news agency that Egypt has submitted no such request.
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at Sunday’s cabinet meeting that Israel would
consider a request to modify troop levels, but that he sees no reason for the
peace treaty to be substantially modified otherwise.
“If we are going to
alter the peace treaty with Egypt – and I don’t think that is something we must
rush into – it must be approved by the cabinet,” he said earlier Sunday at a
meeting with Likud ministers.
“We must take care of security – in
particular problems with terror – and we must invest more resources in
overcoming obstacles,” Netanyahu said. “We are in continued contacts with the
Egyptian government and trying to navigate these contacts
On Saturday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israel
would not likely approve additional Egyptian troops in eastern Sinai, despite
reports in The Economist that he had said it is in Israel’s interest to do so to
help bring order to the restive area.