Israel okays extra Egypt troops in Sinai: Report

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - 23:56

Jerusalem: Israel has agreed to let
Egypt deploy hundreds more troops in Sinai in order to protect
gas pipelines as the country undergoes sweeping political
unrest, an Israeli paper reported on Wednesday.

It was not immediately clear how many more troops
would be permitted into the Sinai Peninsula, where the number
of Egyptian forces are limited by the terms of the 1979
Israel-Egypt peace treaty, the top-selling Yediot Aharonot
said.

The move, which comes just days after the overthrow
of autocratic Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, was rubber
stamped several days ago in response to a request from Cairo`s
new military regime.

Neither the defence ministry nor the prime
minister`s office would confirm the report, which said the
troops would be stationed in Sinai for a limited period of
time "until the situation on the ground calms down."

Israeli backing for the move comes 11 days after
saboteurs in northern Sinai attacked an Egyptian gas pipeline
to Jordan, forcing Cairo to switch off gas supplies to the
kingdom as well as to Israel, which is supplied via a twin
pipeline.

It was not clear who was behind the attack, although
media reports pointed the finger at armed Bedouin tribesmen,
who frequently clash with Egyptian security forces.

On January 31, just days after the uprising began,
Israel agreed to let Egypt move an extra 800 soldiers into
Sinai, most of whom were deployed around the Red Sea resort of
Sharm El-Sheikh.

Since being forced out of office on February 11,
Mubarak has been holed up in the glitzy tourist town where his
family has a holiday home and where he often hosted foreign
dignitaries.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - 23:56

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