Photo Credit: Ma'an
Egyptian forces moving into the Sinai. (Archive: April 2012)

Egyptian Maj.-Gen. Ahmad Jamal said that Egypt’s Interior Ministry decided to send 2,000 officers and soldiers from the Special Forces to the north of Sinai, in order to increase security control of the area.

Jamal added that his forces would also send military vehicles, including armored vehicles and weapons, in coordination with the Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

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He said the ministry has already sent 150 officers and the rest will be sent soon. The main reason for sending them is to implement security plans, especially plans to protect the natural gas line.

Egyptian security sources said that Israel has agreed to adding seven army battalions in the Sinai, which exceeds the limits set in the 1979 peace treaty. The Egyptians wish to propose changes in security arrangements set out in the peace treaty, which they claim has made it impossible for them to govern the northern Sinai, because of restrictions on their military operations.

An explosion hit the pipeline carrying gas to Israel and Jordan on Monday, for the 14th time since the uprising against Hosni Mubarak. The Egyptian government’s authority in Sinai has collapsed since the fall of Mubarak in February, 2011. No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The pipeline has been shut down since another explosion hit it on Feb. 5. Al Ahram reported that Egypt’s 20-year gas deal with Israel, signed in the Mubarak era, is unpopular with some Egyptians, and its critics are accusing Israel of not paying enough for the fuel.

Last week, the IDF’s Head of the Military Intelligence Directorate, Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, said that “Over ten terror infrastructure in Sinai were revealed and dismantled over the past few months.”

According to the Palestinian news agency Ma’an, four armed men robbed a fuel truck belonging to international peacekeeping forces in the Sinai on Monday.

An Egyptian security officer told Ma’an that gunmen stopped the truck in Sheikh Zuweid, a few kilometers from Gaza, and stole 50,000 liters (12,500 gallons) of fuel.

They stole the fuel in order to smuggle it into the Gaza Strip, the official said.

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