CNN: U.S. Considering Shifting Troops in Sinai Due to IS Threat

An armoured Israeli military vehicle drives along Israel's border with Egypt's Sinai peninsula, near the Nitzana crossing in this picture taken January 30, 2014. An Islamist insurgency boiling in the desert peninsula has claimed casualties among the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO), requiring new and often cumbersome precautions. And while participating countries do not say so publicly, there has been some behind-the-scenes debate over the MFO mandate at a period of unprecedentedly close Israeli-Egyptian security cooperation. In northeastern areas of Sinai once strictly demilitarised, Egypt, with Israel's consent, now routinely brings in troops,tanks, fighter jets and helicopters to fight insurgents.  REUTERS/Amir Cohen/Files (Newscom TagID: rtrlseven447389.jpg) [Photo via Newscom]
An armored IDF vehicle drives along Israel’s border with Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, near the Nitzana crossing. (Reuters/Amir Cohen/Files)

The U.S. is considering pulling troops from a base in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, partly due to the threat of Islamic State and other terror groups, according to CNN.

The news network reported Tuesday evening that the U.S. is in discussion with Egypt and Israel over the possibility of moving some American and international troops into southern portions of Sinai, farther away from the volatile Gaza Strip border to the north.

The peace treaty that Israel and Egypt signed in 1979 is monitored by the Multinational Force and Observers mission, which includes 700 U.S. troops.

The CNN report quotes Defense Department officials as saying that the U.S. believes that terror threats from IS and other groups in the area are growing. The officials said that the U.S. can fulfill its treaty obligations even with the move is approved by the signatories, and that it would not signal a U.S. retreat from an IS threat. The officials point to improved unmanned remote sensing technology that they say can fulfill the treaty’s obligations of monitoring military movements in Sinai.

Any changes to the treaty would have to be approved by all signatories, and neither Israel nor Egypt has commented yet on the discussions.

“The (Pentagon) supports the role being played by the Multinational Force and Observers in supporting the Treaty of Peace between Israel and Egypt,” Defense Department spokesman Christopher Sherwood said in a statement. “We are in continuous contact with the MFO and adjust force protection capabilities as conditions warrant.”