Egypt ‘‘got what (it) wanted and there was no objection from Israel,’’ he said. Egypt now has more than 2,200 soldiers in the demilitarized area, along with military helicopters and mechanized brigades.
He estimated there are about 1,600 militants in the Sinai, intent on establishing an Islamic emirate there. They maintain close ties with Palestinian militants in the neighboring Gaza Strip, he said.
Eli Shaked, a former Israeli ambassador to Egypt, predicted that because of the shared interests, the two countries will work out a mutually acceptable arrangement.
‘‘We share the same interest, cleaning the Sinai, the whole peninsula, from those elements,’’ he said.
This might even mean formal changes to the peace accord, he said, albeit only if both sides agree.
‘‘I cannot reject the possibility that there will be changes, with the consent of both sides, with both sides discussing it and agreeing upon the necessary amendments,’’ he said. ‘‘I believe this will be the case.’’
Sarah El-Deeb contributed reporting from Cairo.