Israeli Intelligence Chief Meets Counterpart in Cairo To Address Border Tensions

( — The director of Israel’s Shin Bet security agency met with the head of the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate in Cairo on Monday as the two countries are at odds over Israel’s war on Hamas, the Times of Israel reported.

Two Israeli sources told Axios that Shin Bet Director Ronen Bar and Egypt’s Abbas Kamel met to discuss Cairo’s increasing concerns over the Israel Defense Force’s push in southern Gaza near its border with Egypt.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that the IDF must prevent arms smuggling to Hamas through the southern border with Egypt and previously suggested retaking the Philadelphi Route, the 9-mile strip separating the Gaza Strip from Egypt.

According to Israeli public broadcaster Kan, Bar’s visit to Cairo was just a one-day trip, and the Shin Bet director and his delegation returned to Israel Monday night.

The Monday meeting in Cairo followed talks in Paris on Sunday that were attended by both Bar and Kamel. Other Israeli and Egyptian officials, along with representatives from Qatar and the US, were also in attendance in Paris, where they discussed a possible deal to release the remaining hostages in Gaza.

The meetings come as tensions continue to mount between Israel and Egypt, with the Egyptian government rejecting a possible Israeli takeover of the Philadelphi Route.

The IDF withdrew from the Philadelphi Route in 2005. However, Israeli officials have recently discussed regaining control of the area to prevent weapons from being smuggled to Hamas and other Islamic terrorist groups in Gaza either over the land or through tunnels.

However, Egyptian officials fear that such a presence along the border would push Palestinian civilians into Egyptian territory.

The Egyptians have denied Israel’s claim that arms were being smuggled from Egypt into Gaza.

Egyptian President el-Sissi last week refused to speak with Prime Minister Netanyahu due to the dispute over the Philadelphi Route. El-Sissi was reportedly still angry about a December 30 press conference in which Netanyahu suggested that Israel must once again take control of the area.

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