TOI: Israel says it will ‘lend a hand’ in Egypt’s fight against Islamic State

Israel, according to foreign reports, has assisted Egypt throughout its fight against the Islamic State insurgency in the northern Sinai Peninsula, including intelligence sharing and even allegedly carrying out drone strikes against the terrorists.

But in the wake of the deadliest terror attack ever on Egyptian soil, Israeli officials were evasive on specific actions being taken by Israel following the devastating mosque massacre on Friday that killed over 300 people, including at least 27 children.

“The Israeli defense establishment expressed its sympathies and, as always, is willing to lend a hand to any country in order to help fight terror,” an Israeli security official said Sunday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“That’s how it was in this case, and how it will also be in the future,” he added.

Asked specifically if Israel was cooperating with the Egyptians, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon told Channel 13 in an interview that “this is an issue to discuss in the cabinet.”

Israel has assisted Egypt throughout its fight with the Islamic State terrorist group in the Sinai, and its precursors. According to foreign reports, this has included conducting drone strikes in the peninsula on Islamic State targets. It has also reportedly taken the form of significant intelligence sharing.

More publicly, since 2013, Israel has also allowed additional Egyptian forces into the peninsula, beyond the level permitted under the 1979 peace accord between the two countries. Heavy weapons, like tanks, artillery and attack helicopters, have been brought into Sinai to fight the Islamists, a sign that Jerusalem is not concerned those big Egyptian guns could be turned against it.

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