Israel and Egypt will increase security cooperation following Sunday’s terror attack at Kerem Shalom, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said Tuesday.
“We can already see improvement on the ground. The incident shocked the senior echelons in Cairo. What remains to be seen is whether it will last,” said Ayalon in an interview to Army Radio.
Ayalon said it is as much in Egypt’s interest as it is in Israel’s to gain control of the Sinai Peninsula. “I believe that Cairo will enlist to the cause and do all they can,” said Ayalon, stressing however that any Egyptian action in the Sinai would have to be carried out within the framework of the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty.
Egyptian Air Force deployed fighter jets in the Sinai Peninsula on Monday for the first time since the Egypt-Israel peace treaty was signed in 1979. According to a high-ranking Egyptian official, a large military reinforcement will arrive in Sinai in the upcoming days.
When asked about the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s assertion that Israel was behind the attack, Ayalon dismissed it as laughable, saying it called to mind the accusation, last year, that the Mossad had enlisted a man-eating shark to scare tourists away from Egypt’s beaches. “We rely on what we hear from President Morsi, the army and the government, not the Muslim Brotherhood,” said Ayalon.
A day and a half after the attack, Israeli defense officials decided to reopen the Kerem Shalom border crossing.
Also on Tuesday, Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram reported that dozens of Egyptian protesters demonstrated in front of the Israeli ambassador’s residence in Cairo overnight, blaming the Mossad for the attack that saw 16 Egyptian policemen killed and calling on their government to cut off ties with Israel.