Israeli official: Cooperation strong with Egypt

An Israeli defense official says the country has developed a new policy in recent years to allow Egypt to quickly beef up its forces in the volatile Sinai peninsula as part of a shared struggle against Islamic militants.

The official's comments Wednesday came days after Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh el-Sissi said there are about 25,000 Egyptian troops operating in Sinai. It was the first time an Egyptian leader has commented on the number of troops battling militants there.

A historic 1979 peace treaty limited the number of Egyptian forces in the Sinai. But it allows the two countries to change those numbers in coordination.

The Israeli official, who was not authorized to be identified, said Israel now has a policy of approving Egyptian requests much faster than in the past.