Israel has allowed Egyptian troops into the Sinai Peninsula for the first time since 1979, Israeli radio reported Monday, while the Israeli president warned of the possibility of the radical Islamist opposition rising to power in Egypt.
A high-ranking member of the government had confirmed that at Egypt's request hundreds of troops had been allowed on to the peninsula because of ongoing protests in the country.
Since the 1979 peace agreement between the two countries, Egypt had only been allowed to station police forces there.
But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would not confirm or deny the report.
"In all the last decades Egypt has respected the peace agreement and has not breached it," he said at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Jerusalem. "It hasn't breached in the last few days either," he added.
Meanwhile, President Shimon Peres told a reception at his Jerusalem residence for newly appointed ambassadors that a fanatic religious regime in Egypt would not be better than a lack of democracy, dpa reported.
"We always had and still have great respect for President Mubarak," he said.
"We don't say that everything he did is right but he did one thing for which we are thankful to him: he kept the peace in the Middle East," Peres added.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed his government not to comment on the developments in Egypt.
But in Israel, the president, whose duties are largely ceremonial, does not answer to the government.