Israeli delegation in Cairo to discuss Sinai security

Three Israeli officials arrived in Cairo on Sunday for a brief visit to discuss the security situation in the Sinai peninsula, Cairo airport sources told German news wire DPA.

In recent years Israel has pressed Egypt to make more effort to control the sensitive border area between the two countries in order to stem arms smuggling to the Hamas-held Gaza Strip.

The pipeline that takes Egyptian natural gas supplies to Israel and Jordan through Sinai has been subject to ten attacks by unidentified assailants since the outbreak of the Egyptian revolution in January 2011. The gas deal signed between Egypt and Israel is unpopular with the Egyptian public, and a court case in Egypt is currently investigating corruption associated with the deal.

The peninsula has also reportedly seen the presence of extremist Islamist groups grow since the uprising.

According to the two countries' 1979 peace treaty, Sinai is divided into sections A, B and C. It allows only a limited number of armed police to protect section C, adjacent to Israel, which many argue is not sufficient to maintain stability.

Israel’s new ambassador to Egypt, Yakov Amitai, is scheduled to return to Cairo on Monday along with other embassy staff. The ambassador had extended his visit to Tel Aviv to include the past week, which saw Egypt mark the first anniversary of the revolution.

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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