Egyptian envoy to the Palestinian Authority Yasser Othman said Friday that Israel's escalating rhetoric against Egypt's post-revolution security apparatus suggests of an Israeli plot to retake Sinai.
In an interview with Palestinian news agency Maan, Othman claimed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak's repeated incitement against the security situation in Sinai indicates of their plan to recapture the peninsula.
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The Egyptian envoy noted that Israel has been acting tirelessly to tarnish the reputation of the new government, claiming Egypt is unable to secure its border with Israel in order to mount international pressure that will provide the Jewish State with the necessary pretext to occupy the area.
Othman's statement came days after Egyptian Foreign Minister Muhammed Amr said that Cairo intends to respect its peace treaty with Israel.
Officials in Jerusalem responded to the Egyptian envoy's remarks, stating that "Israel respects the government and the Egyptian people. Adhering to the peace treaty with Egypt, which stipulates that Sinai is under Egyptian sovereignty, is in the strategic interest of both countries.
Earlier this week, unknown assailants blew up an Egyptian pipeline in Sinai that supplies Israel and Jordan with gas, security sources and witnesses said.
A witness told investigators he saw three men jump out of a small truck at a pumping station in an area known as al-Maidan, southwest of the city of el-Arish, and open fire on the pipeline, the security sources said.
Since President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February the pipeline has been repeatedly blown up by assailants believed to be opposed to selling Egyptian gas to Israel.
Ronen medzini contributed to this report
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