#Egypt | Tantawi vows to defend Egypt’s border with #Israel

Maan News Agency | Updated April 23, 2012


CAIRO (Reuters) — Egypt’s military ruler said on Monday the armed forces would defend the borders with Israel if necessary, state media reported after an Israeli official voiced concerns about relations between the two neighbors.

Ties between Egypt and Israel have been strained since a popular uprising toppled President Hosni Mubarak, who had put a peace treaty with Israel at the center of his regional policy.

Israel has also said it was concerned by a security vacuum in Egypt’s Sinai region on its border.

Addressing troops in the Sinai Peninsula during annual field exercises, Tantawi said:

“Our borders, especially the northeast ones, are inflamed. We do not attack neighboring countries but will defend our territory. We will break the legs of any trying to attack us or come near the borders,” MENA news agency quoted him as saying.

Tantawi’s comments after Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said on Sunday Egypt’s decision to end a gas supply deal with Israel “casts a shadow on the peace agreements and the peaceful atmosphere between Egypt and Israel.”

“Therefore our forces must be on alert and constant combat readiness,” Tantawi added.

Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous nation, was the first to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, a move that prompted the assassination of president Anwar Sadat in 1981 by Islamists.

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