CAIRO (AP) - An Egyptian intelligence official and a military official say Egypt's defense minister told his Israeli counterpart in a telephone call that Egypt's increased military presence in the Sinai Peninsula is needed to fight terrorism and is temporary.
The officials say Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi called Ehud Barak Thursday in their first conversation since he took office following an attack blamed on Islamic militants that killed 16 Egyptian soldiers in Sinai this month.
Israel says Egypt has since moved tanks into Sinai without its consent - required under the 1979 peace treaty between the countries.
The officials say el-Sissi told Barak that Egypt's military presence in the Sinai is needed to fight terrorism and assured him it is only temporary. He also reaffirmed Egypt's commitment to the peace deal.
The officials spoke to The Associated Press on Saturday on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of relations between Egypt and Israel at this time.