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Israeli officials believe Sisi will not 'survive his term'

Israeli officials allegedly believe Egyptian counter-insurgency doing 'all the wrong things'
A supporter welcoming the expected visit of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi holds up a picture of Sisi during a rally outside Downing Street in central London (AFP)

Israeli officials are privately concerned that the government of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi could be under threat of collapse, according to comments from a US think tank.

A former US lawmaker told Bloomberg News that Israeli government officials doubted the ability of Sisi to defeat the growth of Islamic State-linked militants in the Sinai Peninsula and head off destabilising threats to his government.

"We did spend some time with Israeli national security folks," said Greg Craig, a former Obama administration official and co-chairman of the Egypt policy task force of the Washinton Institute for Near East Policy.

"One of the smartest persons I've ever met in terms of analytical capacity was talking about the Egyptian proclivity to do all the wrong things when it comes to counter-insurgency."

"If you had a list of boxes you checked of things not to do, the Egyptian military has checked every one of those boxes," he added.

His co-chair Vin Weber, a former Republican member of Congress, said that - figuratively and literally - many Israelis believed that he wouldn't survive his term in office.

"[Sisi] is under constant death threats," Weber told Bloomberg. "Many people said we're not sure where he sleeps every night. And I think there is that question mark in the minds of the Israelis about whether or not the government can succeed."

Israel had previously viewed Sisi as one of its most reliable allies since the establishment of a peace treaty between the two countries in 1979.

Sisi's hostility to the Muslim Brotherhood, which has some historical links to Hamas, has effectively aligned the two countries interests, with Egypt helping to demolish tunnels between the Sinai and the Gaza Strip.

Hundreds of soldiers and police have reportedly been killed by the Sinai-based IS affiliate Wilayet Sinai, who began their campaign following the coup that overthrew the democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi.

Sisi has maintained tight security around himself to overcome threats to his rule. In August, 26 military officers were sentenced to jail allegedly for a plot to overthrow the former field marshal.