Israel Allows Additional Egyptian Troops Into Sinai

Egyptian request to deploy two more infantry battalions in the peninsula comes after terrorist attack in northern Sinai kills three.

Israel has permitted the Egyptian army to deploy two more infantry battalions in the Sinai Peninsula in order to combat terror activists in the area due to rising tension in the area in recent days. The forces are to be deployed in El-Arish and Sharm el-Sheikh.

The Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty places limitations on Egyptian forces deployed in Sinai.

Israel approved Egypt's request following an attack by Islamist terrorists on a bus in northern Sinai on Monday. Three workers were killed and 17 were wounded in the attack, after the terrorists shot rockets at the bus.

Israeli military officials said that lately the Egyptian army was increasing its activity in the peninsula. Since the removal of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, there has been an increase in the violence in the area. Israel fears that the events will spill over to its side of the border, and that the same Islamists elements will try to attack Israeli targets.

Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Benny Gantz on Monday said that Israel is monitoring the activity along its southern border. "… in Sinai too, we see a buildup of terror organizations, and we're following these developments on a daily basis. Things happen there all the time, and we are definitely following the events." This area poses security challenges to Israel, he added.

In the beginning of July Israel allowed Egypt to deploy forces in Sinai due to fears that Salfi organizations would exploit the situation in Egypt and carry out terror attacks against the government. Among other activities, the Egyptian army sealed tunnels leading to the Gaza Strip, fearing that Islamist activist would cross over to the peninsula and add to the tension.

On Sunday, the IDF deployed reinforcements in the Kadesh Barnea area along the border with Egypt, following skirmishes between terrorists and Egyptian army forces to the west of the border. The IDF did not intervene, despite the proximity to the border crossing. Gunshots were heard, but the IDF clarified that this was an "inner Egyptian matter."