Egyptian security officials have reached a temporary cease-fire agreement with heads of the radical Salafi organizations in the Sinai Peninsula, according to an Egyptian media report released on Monday.
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The newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm reported that a delegation sent by Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi met with Salafi leaders in two mosques in the city of Sheikh Zayed on Saturday and reached an agreement to free prisoners, as well as discontinue fighting for a week.
It was also reported that Morsi’s chief of staff is expected to travel to Sinai, and meet with representatives of the Salafi organizations in person, in attempts to create a framework for two-sided discourse and stability in the peninsula.
An Egyptian security official that participated in the meetings stated that the negotiations began following the arrival of a senior Egyptian security official, and a temporary, 48-hour halt of military activity laid the groundwork for the agreements that ensued.
It was also reported that the meetings were initiated by heads of organizations loyal to Islamic Jihad, which called for an end to the fighting, in order to stop the bloodshed that followed the Egyptian military operation.
Meanwhile, the newspaper Al-Ahram quoted a senior Egyptian security official as saying that the operation will continue, as the Egyptian military is continuing its efforts to destroy underground tunnels used for smuggling goods in and out of Gaza. The official stated that to date, 15% of the total work has been completed, and there are over 1,000 tunnels connecting the two territories.