Egypt has allowed Israel to covertly bomb its territory

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (R) speaks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) during their meeting as part of an effort to revive the Middle East peace process ahead of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, U.S., September 19, 2017 in this handout picture courtesy of the Egyptian Presidency. (ReutersArchive)

A report carried by New York Times over the weekend said Israeli forces had carried out more than 100 airstrikes in Egypt targeting Daesh militants over the course of more than two years with Cairo’s approval.

A report published in the New York Times over the weekend claims that the Israeli military has carried out dozens of air strikes against Daesh linked militants in Egypt’s Sinai with the approval of Cairo.

The report published on Saturday cited current and former US and British officials, saying Israeli forces had carried out more than 100 airstrikes in Egypt over the course of more than two years.

Using unmarked drones, helicopters and jets, the strikes in northern Sinai just over the border with Israel have targeted militants linked with Daesh.

A day after the New York Times report, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would “do whatever is necessary to defend ourselves”, without referring to the NYT report.

Speaking at the start of a cabinet meeting, Netanyahu referred to recent meetings with US President Donald Trump, European leaders and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“We are not bent on war, but we will do whatever is necessary to defend ourselves.”

Daesh-linked militants have waged a deadly insurgency in the Sinai against Egyptian security forces, and Israeli officials have watched the violence with concern.

Military-to-military cooperation?

Egypt and Jordan are the only two Arab nations with peace treaties with Israel, but relations remain sensitive due to hostility towards Israel from its continuing and brutal occupation of Palestinians.

While there have long been suggestions of behind-the-scenes military and intelligence cooperation between Egypt and Israel, officials from both countries rarely comment publicly on them.

Netanyahu has repeatedly spoken of improving ties with Arab nations in recent months without providing details, with many analysts saying their shared concern over Iran and Daesh militants has drawn them closer together.

Source: AFP