Egypt to send aircraft and tanks to Sinai first time since 1973
For the first time since the October war of 1973, Egypt is preparing to send aircraft and tanks to Sinai as part of its offensive against militants in the border area.
At the same time, Israel also announced it will deploy an air defense system near the Egyptian border. Both countries are beefing-up military presence in the often lawless border area in northern Sinai. On 5 August, 16 border agents were killed in an attack.
Egypt’s new Defense Minister, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, made his first visit to Sinai on Monday following the assaults. During his time there, he also finalized plans on increasing military presence in the area.
“General al-Sisi will supervise the final plans to fight back terrorist infrastructure using aircraft and mobile rocket launchers for the first time during the beginning of this operation”, an Egyptian security source told Reuters.
The army is planning on attacking Al Halal mountain, which is located right in the middle of the peninsula, and believed to be a major hiding area of suspected terrorists in the area, said another security source.
Egypt’s new President Mohammad Morsi has vowed to restablish order and security in the northern area of Sinai that borders Israel.
Israel has been in constant contact with Egypt since the early August attacks, and supports the use of military action to go after the suspected terrorists.
Egypt and Israel signed a peace treaty in 1979 following the October war that limits military presence in the peninsula. However in recent years, Israel has agreed to allow Egypt to deploy more forces to stop weapons from being smuggled into the Palestinian territories.