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Air Force Commander says Egypt doesn't need permission to increase troop levels in Sinai

The commander of the Egyptian Air Force has said that his country is not expecting any amendments to the Camp David treaty from Israel in order to allow Egypt to increase the number of its forces deployed in the Sinai Peninsula. "Sinai is our land," said Air Marshal Reda Hafez, "and we do not need permission from anyone to increase the number of our troops on our land."


Speaking at a press conference commemorating Egypt's annual Air Force Day, Marshal Hafez told reporters, "Egyptian aircraft carry out patrols to secure all Egyptian borders, including the Eastern borders." The number of troops will be increased in Sinai to a level consistent with the need to protect the border, he added.

When asked about the potential impact of a cut or end to US military aid, Hafez said, "The Egyptian Armed Forces have various sources to replenish and update our armaments. We obtain all that we need from the countries from whom we don't receive aid." In effect, he said, a cut or end to US aid will not make a major difference. Even Egypt's national debt, now standing at more than 3 trillion Egyptian pounds, will not affect the armed forces' plans. "We take everything into account," said the Air Marshall, noting that his air force has the latest technology and aircraft at its disposal.

The tensions in the region pose a challenge, he said, but the experience of the air force and its equipment cannot be taken lightly or beaten: "We will protect our national airspace."

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