TEL AVIV Ñ Israel's military has determined that Egypt seeks to
weaken Israel through attacks by Palestinian
Israeli military sources said the assessment was contained in Military
Intelligence reports relayed to the General Staff and the Cabinet over the
last two months. The sources said MI has determined that Egypt has
facilitated the smuggling of
weapons and insurgents from the Sinai Peninsula to the Gaza Strip for
attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians.
The MI assessment comes amid Israel's effort to launch security
cooperation with Egypt. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abu Al Gheit and
intelligence chief Gen. Omar Suleiman were scheduled to visit Israel and the
Palestinian Authority on Wednesday, Middle East Newsline reported.
"We are not only talking about weapons," a senior military source said.
"We are talking about the infiltration of Egyptian and other trainers to
help improve the capability of Palestinian terrorist groups and the
Israeli officials said the meetings with the Egyptians would focus on
security cooperation along the borders between Egypt and Israel as well as
Egypt and the Gaza Strip. The Egypt-Gaza border has been deemed a leading
smuggling route of weapons for Palestinian insurgency groups.
Military sources said Egyptian police units along the Gaza border were
believed to have been aiding or facilitating the flow of insurgents into the
Gaza Strip. On Monday, an Israeli military officer was killed in the
collapse of a Palestinian weapons smuggling tunnel near the Egyptian border.
Officials said Egypt wants to bolster its armed presence along the
border with Israel in wake of its planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.
They said Egypt has proposed revising the 1979 peace treaty so that 750
commandos would be allowed to patrol the eastern Sinai Peninsula. The
proposed Egyptian force, meant for deployment in late 2005, would not be
equipped with such heavy weaponry as mortars or anti-tank missiles.