Israeli Military Chief: Islamist Challenges Lie Ahead

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israeli Military Intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi said regional changes over the past year will present Israel with an "environment that is more unstable, tense and Islamist than in the past."

"The annual intelligence assessment is the result of a long and thorough process of research and analysis," Kochavi told the IDF's general staff at the annual Military Intelligence assessment.

"The work is led by the research unit and uses all of the existing intelligence-gathering bodies in the intelligence branch, as well as ones created in the past year," he said.

"It will be an environment that deals with a series of crises, regional and domestic, which raises the level of sensitivity of all players and which could lead, without advanced planning, to flare ups," he said.

Meanwhile, Egypt's counter-terror operation in the Sinai since the Aug. 5 attack on an Egyptian military base, which killed 16 soldiers, continues. According to a statement Monday by Egypt's Defense Ministry, 11 terrorists have been killed and 20 arrested to date.

At the beginning of the week, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi said he would honor all international treaties, presumably including the 1979 peace treaty with Israel, in the context of the military deployment in the Sinai.

The treaty limits military activities, including troop deployment, in the vast desert region, which Israel tacitly agreed to after the Aug. 5 attack. The terrorists, strapped with explosives, crossed into Israel in a stolen armored vehicle and a booby-trapped pickup truck and tried to storm the Kerem Shalom crossing before an airstrike and tank fire took them out.

On Tuesday, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Morsi should visit Israel to show his commitment to maintain the peace treaty by visiting Israel.

"We hope that whoever speaks about peace and about stability understands their can be no hypothetical peace," the Israeli daily Haaretz quoted Lieberman. "We hope that Morsi will meet with officials in Israel, that he will be interviewed by Israeli media and that he will visit Jerusalem."

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