IDF fighter jets shot down an Egyptian drone near the border on Monday after its operator lost control of the unmanned aerial vehicle.
The drone was tracked closely up until the moment it was shot down near Mount Sagi after crossing into Israeli airspace. The IDF coordinated with the Egyptians before shooting it down.
A preliminary investigation into the incident found that the drone was unarmed.
Israel prevented publication of the incident for two days due to sensitivity regarding the Egyptian side.
The peace treaty signed in 1979 between Egypt and Israel places strict limitations on the number of troops that can be stationed on either side of the Sinai border – but should either country agree, additional troops can be deployed.
In 2018, Egypt increased its troop presence in the peninsula to 88 battalions with 42,000 soldiers, a marked increase from the 41 battalions and 25,000 soldiers that had been deployed to the area in 2017.
Meetings between the two militaries are frequent, and senior Israeli officers, including from the IDF’s General Staff, have recently made visits to their counterparts in Egypt.
In November, senior Israeli military officers met with their Egyptian counterparts, discussing mutual issues facing both armies and allowing Cairo to deploy more troops to the border with the Gaza Strip.
The IDF delegation was headed by Operation’s Division head Maj.-Gen. Oded Basiok, Strategy and Third Circle Division head Maj.-Gen. Tal Kalman and Foreign Relations Division head Brig.-Gen. Efi Dafrin.
During the meeting, which took place in the coastal Sinai city of Sharm el-Sheikh, an amendment to the agreement was signed, regulating the presence of Egyptian forces in the area of Rafiah “in favor of increasing the security grip of the Egyptian army in this area,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement.
The amendment was approved by the political echelon.
With close ties between the two militaries, foreign press has reported that Cairo and Jerusalem have been closely cooperating in the Sinai peninsula in the fight against ISIS militants and the smuggling of weapons and drugs across the border.