Egyptian officials called Wednesday for changes to be made in several clauses of the peace treaty with Israel, hours after Cairo bombed terrorist targets in the peninsula in the wake of a series of terror attacks there.
The offensive was the first time since the 1973 Yom Kippur War that Egyptian forces used air power and missiles in Sinai.
Officials in Cairo said that the 1978 Camp David Accords, under which Israel withdrew from the peninsula and which set limitations on the Egyptian army’s rights to deploy forces and operate there, prevent Egypt from effectively exerting control in the peninsula.
The terms of the treaty prevents the Egyptian army from operating more effectively in the areas where it is currently confronting Islamic terrorists, some of whom were behind Sunday’s Gaza-Egypt-Israel terror attack, in which 16 Egyptian soldiers were killed, they said, according to Israel’s Army Radio.
“These changes are required in order to allow Egypt to control the [Sinai] border areas,” said Amr Moussa, a former presidential candidate, ex-foreign minister and Arab League head.
Some 20 terrorists were reported killed in the ongoing Egyptian army operation. The terrorists were believed to have fired anti-aircraft missiles at Egyptian helicopters in retaliation.
On Tuesday, Israeli minister Dan Meridor said Jerusalem would not object to Egypt moving heavier forces into the peninsula to carry out anti-terror operations.
On Monday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the terms of the treaty would not serve as an obstacle were Egypt to seriously crack down on the terror cells in Sinai. He said he hoped Sunday’s attack would serve as a wake-up call for Cairo, and lead to an Egyptian effort to reassert authority in the peninsula.