Israel has conducted numerous drone strikes against terrorists in Egyptian territory in recent years, Bloomberg quoted a former senior Israeli official as saying on Monday.
The report came amid improved ties between the countries which saw Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Sunday. Shoukry’s visit marked the first by an Egyptian foreign minister to Israel since 2007.
According to the former Israeli official quoted by Bloomberg, the Israeli drone strikes against militants in the Sinai peninsula were carried out with Cairo’s blessing.
The Sinai peninsula has seen an uptick in terrorist activities since the ouster of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
The terrorist group Ansar Bayit al-Maqdes pledged allegiance to Islamic State last year and has frequently targeted Egyptian security forces stationed in Sinai.
Israel has claimed that Hamas in Gaza has provided material support for Egyptian ISIS operatives, as well as medical treatment for terrorists wounded in Egypt who have snuck back into Gaza.
A senior IDF official warned last year that it was “only a matter of time” before terrorists in Sinai attempt to strike Israel and that forces stationed on the border have trained for such a scenario.
Egypt has worked to stop the flow of terrorists between Gaza and Sinai, flooding the smuggling tunnels linking the two areas.
In order to help Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi battle the terrorist presence in Sinai, Israel has allowed Egypt to increase the number of forces it deploys to Sinai. The number is capped under the Camp David peace accords signed between the two states in 1979 and any Egyptian troop increase in the area requires Israeli approval.
Diplomatic officials said that the Egyptian foreign minister’s visit to Israel on Sunday indicates a growing willingness on Egypt’s part to make public its strong relationship with Israel.
Shoukry said his visit comes, as did his visit last month to Ramallah, within the context of Sisi’s call in May for a comprehensive agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.
“Such a monumental achievement will have a far reaching and dramatic and positive impact on the overall situation in the Mideast region,” he said.
According to Israeli diplomatic officials, Netanyahu raised with Shoukry the fate of the two Israelis missing in Gaza, as well as the bodies of the two soldiers from the 2014 Operation Protective Edge being held by Hamas, and requested Egypt’s help in gaining their return. The sources said that Shoukry responded positively to the request.
Herb Keinon contributed to this report.