Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said that Israel has collaborated with Egypt in its Sinai operations, stressing that relations between the two countries have strengthened during his term in office.
During a televised interview – of which US news channel CBS News broadcast only excerpts – Al-Sisi said that,
“The relationship with Israel is the closest now compared with previous Egyptian administrations and it includes cooperation in various fields”.
— The Times Headline (@TimesHeadline1) January 6, 2019
Al-Sisi added that the Egyptian army is cooperating with its Israeli counterpart “to confront terrorism in the Sinai,” which borders Israel in Egypt’s northeast.
For four years, the Egyptian army has been waging military operations in the Sinai. It alleges its aim is to fight terrorist groups, most notably the “Sinai Province” group which announced its allegiance to Daesh in late 2014.
Sisi confirms Egypt is working with Israel to fight ISIS in Sinai
"We have a wide range of cooperation with the Israelis," al Sisi said in the interview. pic.twitter.com/ZLhC1P9Ugb
— INTELCENTRE (@INTELCENTRE) January 4, 2019
However, organizations such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) have claimed that,
“Fighting in Sinai has been marred by widespread government abuses including secret detentions, extrajudicial executions, and military trials of civilians”.
#Egypt Pres #Al_Sisi to @CBSNews confirms what was already known and observed on the ground. #Israel and Egypt have a broad cooperation including in Security and Military Operations fighting #ISIS in Northern Sinai. pic.twitter.com/8qDJkrVBx1
— Observer IL – ?️?️?️ (@Obs_IL) January 4, 2019
On other topics, when asked about the validity of human rights reports that 60,000 political prisoners had been detained in Egypt, Al-Sisi replied:
“I do not know where they got this number. There are no political prisoners in Egypt. When there is a minority which tries to impose its extremist ideology, we have to intervene regardless of their numbers.”
CBS News added that the Egyptian ambassador to Washington, Yasser Reda, asked the channel not to broadcast the interview, but it confirmed the full broadcast will go ahead on Sunday.
(MEMO, PC, Social Media)