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Egypt and Israel coordinating on security sweep against militants

Egypt and Israel are making a coordinated effort to sweep the Sinai border area for militants. Since the ousting of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, militants may have gained a foothold in Sinai.

By Marwa AwadReuters / September 8, 2012

Egyptian border guards patrol near the border with Israel in Rafah, Egypt on Aug. 6. Egypt is now coordinating with Israel in the biggest security sweep of the area in decades.

Ahmed Gomaa/AP/File

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Cairo

Egypt and Israel are coordinating on Cairo's biggest security sweep in decades against militants in Sinai, in which 32 people have been killed, an army spokesman said on Saturday, the first clear statement on communication between the neighbours.

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Israel fears Islamist militants, possibly linked to al Qaeda, have gained a foothold in the Sinai border area since the overthrow last year of President Hosni Mubarak.

Israeli officials have privately voiced concern about heavy military equipment being sent toSinai, which is subject to restrictions on the deployment of weapons under the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.

Colonel Ahmed Mohamed Mohamed Ali told a news conference in Cairo that 32 "criminal elements" were killed and 38 suspects arrested, including non-Egyptians, during the operation which began on Aug. 7.

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