Israel has welcomed Egypt's military efforts to stamp out Islamists in the Sinai Peninsula after Sunday's border attack that killed 16 Egyptian soldiers.
Defence Minister Ehud Barak said Egypt was acting “to an extent and with a determination that I cannot previously recall.”
“Whether this ends with its regained control of Sinai and allows us not to worry as much as we have in the past few months, this I do not know,” he told Israel Radio.
Israel has long been concerned over the situation in the Sinai, where there's been an upsurge in violence.
The security cabinet on Thursday approved a request from Ehud Barak to allow Egypt to deploy five attack helicopters in Sinai.
The approval was necessary because under the Egypt-Israel Camp David Accords there are strict limits on the type of weaponry that can be brought into the peninsula.
The approval came a day after the Egyptian army used air power against terrorists in the region.
Egypt fired missiles in the Sinai for the first time since the 1973 Yom Kippur war with Israel. Egyptian helicopter gunships and troops killed 20 people in the village of Touma. The operation was in response to Sunday's attack by Islamist terrorists .
According to a senior Israeli official, the jihad terrorists in the Sinai receive financial and logistical support from other Salafi terror cells in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The official said that the cross-border attack was motivated by the groups’ interest in establishing themselves as a new player in the region. The assessment within the Israeli intelligence community is that the attacks will continue and might increase in frequency.
The groups are usually not connected to Iran, which is working to establish its own terrorist infrastructure in Sinai via Hezbollah, according to the official.
The IDF and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) cannot yet identify a group that is responsible for the attacks, although Egyptian media reported on Wednesday that the Army of Islam, a Gaza-based group affiliated with al-Qaida, was involved.