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Israeli Top Diplomat Blasts Egypt’s Sinai Military Buildup

RIA Novosti

02:43 23/08/2012 TEL AVIV, August 23 (RIA Novosti) - Egypt’s recent military buildup on the Sinai Peninsula was not agreed upon with Israel and violates a peace treaty between the two countries, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said.

The Egyptian army massed troops in the Sinai Peninsula after at least 16 Egyptian police officers were killed and others wounded in a surprise August 5 armed attack on a police station in north Sinai on the border between Egypt and Israel.

“Today, the [amount of] forces and the armament deployed on Sinai have not been agreed upon with us and go beyond the frames of the military protocol signed in Camp David. We insist that everything must be shaped back in line with the protocol,” Lieberman said in an interview with the Israeli TV Channel Nine.

The 1979 peace treaty with Israel, signed in U.S. Camp David, limits Egypt's military presence in the area. The treaty also requires that any sort of military operation inside the Sinai should be carried out in cooperation with the Israelis.

In the wake of the attacks, Israel said it gave Cairo the go-ahead to deploy helicopters in Sinai to restore security in the lawless peninsula and close down tunnels used to smuggle contraband and weapons into the Palestinian Gaza Strip.

However, the ongoing Egyptian military buildup in an area Israel considers a strategic buffer zone has sparked concerns in Israel that Egypt may use its anti-terrorist operation as a way of retaining its military strength in Sinai.

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