Israel notes palpable shift in Cairo's attitude to Sinai terror
Defense Ministry official says he believes Egyptian authorities will do everything in their power to restore order in Sinai • Tense atmosphere remains along border amid Israeli warnings of additional terrorist attacks.
A palpable shift in attitude has apparently taken place in Egypt, according to Defense Ministry Director of Policy and Political-Military Affairs Amos Gilad.
Gilad told Israel Radio on Wednesday morning that he believes Egyptian authorities will do everything in their power to combat terrorism in Sinai and restore order there following Sunday's deadly strike on the Egypt-Israel border, in which 16 Egyptian soldiers and police officers were killed.
Gilad's comments came as the Egyptian military launched an unprecedented offensive overnight Tuesday to weed out terrorist infrastructure in Sinai. The Egyptian military deployed attack helicopters and fighter jets against suspected terrorists, reportedly killing at least 20, while Egyptian forces moved to seal off Gaza smuggling tunnels.
Gilad refused to say whether Israel had prior knowledge of Tuesday's Egyptian offensive. He only said that security cooperation with Egypt is continuing, as stipulated in the peace agreement between the countries.
Former Secretary-General of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, said Wednesday that the Camp David agreement may need to be altered to allow Egypt to better control the border between Israel and Egypt. The Sinai Peninsula is a designated demilitarized zone under the agreement, but Israel has allowed Egypt to deploy troops in the area to tackle the terrorist organizations.
Meanwhile, the border remains tense as Israeli security agencies raise more warning flags about additional potential terrorist plots emanating from Sinai.
Israel is concerned that Islamist terrorist organizations operating in the area will try to shoot down an Israel Air Force plane on patrol, fire at Israeli ships in the Red Sea or fire anti-tank missiles at Israeli tanks stationed along the border.
The Israel Defense Forces is continuing to investigate Sunday's attack that left 16 Egyptian security personnel dead. The Kerem Shalom border crossing with Gaza resumed operations on Tuesday, allowing goods to enter and exit for the first time since the attack.
The hope in the IDF, and within Israel's defense establishment in general, is that Sunday's attack will lead Egypt to change its conduct in regards to the security situation in Sinai and take harsher measures against the terrorist infrastructure that has been allowed to flourish there. The overnight operation on Tuesday may be the first sign of such a shift in attitude.
Ministers in Prime Minister Hisham Qandil's cabinet following the recent reshuffle (new appointees are in italics): 1. Minister of Agriculture Ahmed Mahmoud Ali El-Gizawi2. Minister of Antiquities Ahmed Eissa3. Minister of Aviation Wael Maadawi4. Minister of Communication Atef Helmy5. Minister of Culture
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