A New York Times report claimed Israel has been operating to defeat ISIS in Egypt for over two years with the approval of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. According to the report, Israel has sent unmarked aircraft that frequently conducted airstrikes in the Sinai Peninsula.
Israeli fighter jet (archive) Israeli Air Force/Wikimedia Commons
Israel has carried out a covert campaign against ISIS in Egypt, a report in the New York Times claimed on Saturday. As ISIS militants and Islamists spread in the Sinai desert since 2015, unmarked Israeli aircraft conducted over 100 airstrikes within Egypt, the Times said.
The report cited current and former UK and US officials involved in Middle East policy as sources, all speaking on the condition of anonymity. The frequent airstrikes were allegedly carried out with the approval of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and with full cooperation between the two countries. Furthermore, the US officials said Israel’s covert campaign has played a major role in enabling Egypt’s military to gain an upper hand against terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula.
Both Israel and Egypt allegedly sought to conceal the operation, as the two countries maintain a fragile and fraught relationship. In order to avoid detection, the Israeli aircraft reportedly flew circuitous routes in an attempt to create the impression that they were based in Egypt.
Spokesmen for the Israeli and Egyptian militaries declined to comment. The Egyptian Foreign Ministry also declined to address the report.
As previously reported by JOL, president el-Sisi declared in November that he has instructed the Egyptian authorities to use “all the force necessary” to defeat the terrorist groups in Sinai within three months. “This isn’t logical,” el-Sisi said during a speech, referring to the spread of terrorism in the region. “Within three months, we will fight with all our might and achieve security.”