Egypt and Israel are aware of each other’s security needs, said Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Paul Hirschson on Tuesday in a phone call with Daily News Egypt.
The spokesman’s comments came in response to a question regarding Israel’s concerns over the latest developments in the Sinai Peninsula. This comes in light of the audio announcement sent out on Monday by militant group Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, pledging allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS), now calling itself ‘Islamic State’.
Egyptian state-owned news agency Al-Ahram reported on Tuesday that an Israeli envoy flew to Cairo for discussions about the Gaza Strip and the latest developments in the volatile Sinai peninsula.
Hirschson would not confirm the visit but stated that Israel “has now had for some decades a good relationship with Egypt”. He stressed that there is an “important range of dialogue, especially on security issues”, adding that the two countries are therefore aware of the other’s “security needs”.
The Israeli spokesman stressed that the issues in the Sinai are an “internal Egyptian issue”, and that it becomes an Israeli issue when a rocket is fired across the border.
Two Israeli soldiers patrolling the border were injured in October when militants on the Egyptian side fired an anti-tank missile at their vehicle.
“Of course we are concerned,” said Hirschson. “As Israelis we are concerned about everything. Look to our northern border and we have Jabhat Al-Nusra hanging out on the border.”
The Middle East “is not in great shape at the moment”, said the spokesman. Egypt, he added, has a functioning state but in Syria “the regime is just as bad” as the militant groups. “This is not the case on our southern border with Egypt”.
Despite the good relations on security issues, Egypt and Israel are often at odds when it comes to the issue of the Palestinian territories. Recently Egypt has condemned violence at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, using the term “attacks” in the context of the clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians.
Egypt is set to participate in an emergency meeting on the issue on Wednesday in Morocco, according to Al-Ahram.