EL-ARISH, Egypt — Egypt on Wednesday withdrew some of the tanks it deployed near the Israeli and Gaza borders as part of a military operation against militants in the Sinai Peninsula.
The tank deployment earlier this month had brought complaints from Israel since the peace treaty between the two countries bans such heavy weapons from a zone along the border. Israel had quietly agreed to Egypt sending thousands of troops into the area — also barred under the treaty — to fight militants, but it had not consented to the tanks.
With the withdrawal, nearly 40 tanks remain in the border zone. Officials gave no reason for the pullback. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the deployment, the Associated Press reported.
The head of security in Port Said, Sameh Radwan, said security was being reinforced along the Suez Canal after threats the strategic waterway could be targeted in retaliation for the offensive, according to the state news agency MENA.
Egypt's military said Wednesday it is pushing ahead with its offensive against Islamic militants in the volatile peninsula. The offensive was triggered by a brazen attack Aug. 5 near Egypt's border with Gaza and Israel, when masked militants killed 16 Egyptian soldiers before crossing into Israel, where they were shot dead.
Mubarak ally charged with corruption: Egyptian authorities on Wednesday charged one of ousted leader Hosni Mubarak's most trusted men with corruption, including illegally acquiring villas, lands and apartments owned by the state.
Safwat el-Sherif was minister of information for nearly two decades. He joins a long list of ex-Mubarak associates to face trial on corruption charges.