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Israel has launched drone strikes in Sinai with Egypt’s blessing: Report

Former Israeli official claims that 'dozens of militant attacks by an Islamic State affiliate' had sparked closer cooperation between the two countries
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) shakes hands with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (AFP)

Israel has carried out several drone strikes in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula aimed at suspected militants, a former senior Israeli official has claimed.

The official, who spoke to Bloomberg on Monday on the condition of anonymity, said that Egypt – which has also been carrying out a widespread crackdown against militants in the troubled peninsula - has sanctioned the strikes.

The source said that "dozens of militant attacks by an Islamic State affiliate" had sparked closer cooperation in recent years between Israel and Egypt, which signed a peace deal in 1978 but have had a fraught relationship at times.

The Israeli military's deputy chief, Major Gener Yair Golan, also told Bloomberg that cooperation between the two Middle East countries was improving.

“It’s not about love, it’s not about common values," he said.

"I wouldn’t describe it as the relationship we have with the United States of America, but I think it’s a good starting point.”

The report comes a day after Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an attempt to revive peace talks with the Palestinians. The visit is the first in nearly a decade and has been interpreted as the latest sign of warming ties.

“My visit to Israel comes today at a crucial and challenging juncture for the Middle East,” Shoukry said.

Resolving the decades-old conflict would have a "far-reaching and dramatic and positive impact on the overall conditions of the Middle East region," he added.

"Egypt remains ready to contribute toward achieving this goal."

During the meeting, Netanyahu welcomed Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's "recent offer of Egyptian leadership and efforts to advance peace with the Palestinians and a broader peace in our region".