Egyptian forces prevented a group in the Sinai from painting the colors of the Egyptian flag over an IDF monument in the northern end of the peninsula on Wednesday, according to Egyptian media reports quoted by Ynet.

Under the terms of the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, Egypt is responsible for maintaining the monument. In return, Israel erected and preserves a memorial for fallen Egyptian soldiers in the Negev.

The monument, near El-Arish, was erected out of a large stone as a memorial to 10 soldiers killed in a helicopter crash in 1971, while the territory was under Israeli control.

The action by the Sinai Revolutionaries Movement, reported by some sources to be a Bedouin group, was planned to coincide with Sinai Liberation Day, an Egyptian holiday commemorating the final pullout of Israeli forces from the peninsula as part of the 1979 pact. Wednesday is also Memorial Day in Israel, when the country remembers its fallen soldiers.

According to the Ynet news website, several attempts have been made to deface the monument, but Egyptian police have blocked them.

“We were warned by the El Arish police, but we are determined,” group leader Mohammed Hendy was quoted on Army Radio as saying Wednesday morning. “They put up a monument in our territory. We will turn it into a graveyard for the invaders. The State of Israel does not exist.”