Egypt involved in assassination of Palestinian militant, Time says

Time Magazine dropped a bombshell on Wednesday with the claim that Egypt provided Israel intelligence tips to assist in the early November assassination of a Palestinian militant in the Gaza Strip.

The Egyptian intelligence apparatus, according to the American news magazine, passed information on to Israel about a plot, orchestrated by senior commander in The Army of Islam Mohamed Namnam, against US forces stationed in Egypt's Sinai peninsula.

"Egyptian intelligence gleaned news of the plot from Army of Islam operatives captured earlier in the Sinai," the Time report, titled "Behind an Israeli Strike in Gaza, Help from Egypt," alleged.

On 3 November, 27-year-old Namnam was killed after an Israeli helicopter struck his car in broad daylight on a Gaza street. Following the assassination, Israeli sources said Namnam was plotting attacks against US and Israeli targets in Sinai.

"But sharing the intelligence on Namnam with their Israeli counterparts marked a level of Egyptian cooperation not seen by the Jewish state in years," said the report.

The magazine also quoted an anonymous Egyptian security source, who said, "Egypt is helping much more."

The Egyptian government declined to comment.

Egypt and Israel signed a peace treaty in 1978 which normalized relations between the two historical adversaries.  As part of the deal, Egyptians regained control of the Sinai Peninsula, previously occupied by Israeli forces in 1967. Relations, however, remain problematic because Egyptians largely oppose diplomatic relations with a power that continues to occupy Arab territory. 

The report cited Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's anger at Hezbollah as evidence of the legitimacy of collaboration charges. In 2009, Egypt publicized the arrest of dozens of Hezbollah-affiliated militants on charges of plotting terrorist attacks on Egyptian interests.

American forces constitute nearly half the military personnel assigned to the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) that guards the Israeli-Egyptian border, according to the Time.

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