Egypt has recalled its ambassador in Israel, Yasser Ridha, following the assassination of top Hamas military commander Ahmed Jabari, Egyptian TV reported Wednesday.
It is still unclear whether the envoy is being called back for consultations or for a longer period. Earlier on Wednesday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr condemned Israel’s airstrikes in Gaza remarking that “the Israeli escalation comes at a critical point in the Middle East which threatens to harshly exacerbate matters.”
"President Mohamed Morsi has followed the Israeli brutal assault in which a number of martyrs and sons of the Palestinian people were killed," presidential spokesman Yasser Ali said in a statement on television and on his Facebook website.
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"On this basis he has recalled the Egyptian ambassador from Israel; has ordered the Egyptian representative at the United Nations to call for an emergency meeting at the Security Council ... and summoned the Israeli ambassador in Egypt in protest over the assault," the statement added.
Morsi also called on the Arab League’s secretary general to convene an emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers and conveyed Egypt’s condolences to the people of Gaza.
Foreign Minister Amr had demanded that Israel immediately stop its strikes in Gaza “and avoid any act that might escalate matters further.” He also warned Israel of the negative consequences of the escalation on peace and security in the region.
Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party issued a statement condemning Jabari’s assassination. “This crime warrants a swift Arab and international move in order to stop the acts of carnage against the Palestinian people in Gaza which Israel’s government uses as bargaining chip as part of the political conflict in Israel,” the statement said.
It was further noted that “the return to the policy of targeted killings of Hamas senior officials illustrates that the Israeli occupation wants to drag the region to a state of instability but the occupation state must realize that that the change in the Arab world, and especially in Egypt, won’t allow the Palestinian people to be subjected to Israeli aggression as in the past.”
Egypt’s ruling party also offered its condolences to the “leaders of the Palestinian resistance, Hamas and the Palestinian people.”
Mustafa a-Ranimi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, announced that the group is imploring Egyptian leaders to take a strong position against the Israeli aggression in Gaza. He told the Anatolia news agency that the group is calling for the Egyptian ambassador to be recalled and the Israeli envoy in Egypt to be expelled.
“President Morsi lacks not the nationality nor the Arab nature to adopt a strong stance in regards to what is happening but his decision also depends on a wider view of things.”
Al-Ranimi added that the Muslim Brotherhood will hold large-scale protests to condemn the aggression on Friday but noted they may be moved up to Thursday “in order to show our solidarity with the Palestinian people.” He called on Arabs in the Middle East to take to the streets as well.
Iran also condemned the Israeli strike in Gaza. Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said that the act is another sign of the “Zionist regime’s barbarity.” He remarked that “one of the goals of these crimes is to cover for the Zionists’ domestic troubles.”
Iranian parliament member Ismail Kusri, who is considered close to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, told the Fars news agency that this action will be harmful for Israel “and it leads nowhere.”
Itamar Eichner and Reuters contributed to this report