Egypt denies collaborating with Israel against Gaza’s Army of Islam

A high level Egyptian security source denied Thursday Israeli reports that there is a joint Israeli-Egyptian effort to eliminate leaders of the al-Qaida-affiliated Army of Islam in Gaza and Sinai.

"There are no terrorist organizations in Sinai, neither Palestinian nor Egyptian. Sinai is completely safe and under control, and there are no joint efforts with Israel, not explicitly or behind the scenes," the source told the DPA German news agency.   

The source, who declined to mention his name, added that there have not been any arrests in Sinai, of Egyptians or Palestinians, and that these statements were made to cover up and legitimize Israeli campaigns against the Gaza Strip.

The source said that what happens in the Gaza strip is a “Palestinian internal affair.”

Israeli radio had quoted an Israeli security official saying that there was a covert Israeli-Egyptian operation under way to eliminate leaders of the Gaza-based Army of Islam. The goal of the joint operation, the official said, is to thwart planned attacks on Israeli tourists in the Sinai peninsula.

The Israeli official said that weeks ago, Israel had informed Egyptian intelligence that two members of Army of Islam had crossed illegally into Sinai from the Gaza Strip to prepare for the attacks. The tip prompted Egyptian security authorities to arrest them along with a number of Palestinians in the north Sinai towns of Rafah and Al-Arish, according to the source.

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