Egyptian security forces captured a suspected militant leader in Sinai, as officials press ahead with a military operation that triggered worries by Israel about Cairo’s compliance with the peace deal between the two nations, Al-Ahram reported.
Authorities said the suspected militant arrested had already been sentenced to death in absentia for an attack on a police station in north Sinai, the state-run Al-Ahram reported today, citing an unidentified security official.
The newspaper didn’t say if the suspect was linked to an Aug. 5 attack by gunmen that killed 16 Egyptian border guards - an incident that triggered the largest military operation in the peninsula in over 30 years. Egypt moved in thousands of troops. The deployment of tanks in the area sparked concerns by Israel as the peace deal between the two limits the number of troops and heavy weapons that Cairo can deploy near the border.
Yasser Ali, the spokesman for President Mohamed Mursi, said that Egypt was within its rights to secure Sinai, “irrespective of the position” of others, Al-Ahram reported. Egypt has insisted it is abiding by the Camp David accords, though the deployments are necessary to restore order.