Egypt-Israel ties at new low

A hail of emotions: Egyptian demonstrators launch a firecracker towards the Israeli embassy in Cairo on Saturday. — PHOTO: AFP

A hail of emotions: Egyptian demonstrators launch a firecracker towards the Israeli embassy in Cairo on Saturday. — PHOTO: AFP  

Cairo recalls envoy after shootout; peace treaty under strain

The relations between Egypt and Israel plunged to a new low with Cairo announcing recall of its envoy from Tel Aviv to protest the killing of its five soldiers in a shootout between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants in Sinai.

The step escalated tensions between the two neighbours and threatened the 1979 peace treaty.

Egypt's interim government accused Israel of violating the treaty and said its envoy in Tel Aviv would be withdrawn until Israel apologises for the incident.

“Egypt has decided to withdraw its Ambassador to Israel until there is an official apology,” said state television.

A statement issued after a rare meeting of the ministerial group of the crises- management committee said Egypt had asked Israel to officially apologise for the attack.

“Egypt will never give up the rights of its sons.”

The meeting was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Ali el-Selmi and the Ministers of International Cooperation and Planning, Justice, Interior, Information, Foreign affairs, Information and Health along with the head of the Egyptian intelligence service and Armed Forces commanders.

The meeting discussed clashes in Sinai that left an Egyptian army officer and four soldiers dead and several injured. They were deployed at the border area inside the Egyptian territories, said Egyptian Information Minister Osama Heikal.

They were killed and wounded in the shoot-out between the Israeli forces and the armed groups inside the Israeli territories, he added.

The meeting also entrusted the Foreign Minister to summon the Israeli envoy in Cairo. Egypt is calling for an official probe into the incidents. The statement said that Egypt is capable of protecting its borders and maintaining full security in Sinai. It asserted that security of the Egyptian-Israeli borders is the responsibility of both sides and not the Egyptian side only.

Meanwhile, aprosecution team headed to Al-Arish general hospital to examine the bodies. It found that one soldier was killed after being shot in the head; another from shots in the heart and the abdomen.

The type of projectile used is the one that explodes inside a man's body, the report revealed. — PTI

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