Egyptian army in Sinai Peninsula doubles in a year, with Israel’s blessing
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Egyptian army in Sinai Peninsula doubles in a year, with Israel’s blessing

Eighty-eight Egyptian battalions with 42,000 soldiers fighting Islamic State, up from 41 battalions and 25,000 men a year ago

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, center, attends the inauguration of the East Suez Canal Counter-Terrorism command, in Sinai, Egypt on February 25, 2018.  (MENA via AP)
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, center, attends the inauguration of the East Suez Canal Counter-Terrorism command, in Sinai, Egypt on February 25, 2018. (MENA via AP)

The Egyptian army has doubled its forces in the Sinai Peninsula over the past year, with Israel’s blessing, to battle Islamic State jihadist cells in the area, Israel’s Kan television news reported Wednesday.

According to the Egyptian military’s chief of staff, 88 battalions with 42,000 soldiers are currently stationed in the peninsula, up from 41 battalions and 25,000 men a year ago.

The 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty places strict limits on the numbers of Egyptian and Israeli troops that can be stationed on either side of the Sinai desert border, but it does allow troop increases by one country if the other agrees.

An IDF spokesman said that the Israeli army constantly monitors Egyptian military operations in the peninsula.

“The Egyptian army has increased its forces in Sinai over the past year in the face of the threat of Islamic State. This increase has been carried out in coordination with the IDF,” the spokesman said.

The IDF has in the past protested the rare occasions in which Egypt deployed additional troops to the peninsula without consulting Israel, the spokesman added.

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