Defense Minister Barak
Photo: Ariel Hermoni, Defense Ministry

Barak: Israel regrets Egyptian deaths

Defense minister expresses regret over death of Egyptian police officers in Thursday's border area attack; 'peace treaty between Israel, Egypt has great significance,' Barak says, orders IDF inquiry into incident

Defense Minister Ehud Barak issued a statement Saturday afternoon whereby "Israel regrets the death of Egyptian police officers during the terror attack at the border."


The announcement was made amid growing Israel-Egypt tensions following Thursday's terror offensive. Reports published Saturday morning suggested that Cairo intends to recall its ambassador to Israel and demand an official apology from Jerusalem over the Egyptian deaths.


Ynetnews coverage of growing diplomatic tensions:


In the wake of the crisis with Egypt, senior Israeli officials held meetings Saturday to discuss the sensitive situation. In a security discussion with IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, the defense minister said: "The peace treaty between Israel and Egypt has great significance and immense strategic value for Middle Eastern stability."


Who killed Egyptian troops?

Barak added that he ordered the IDF to undertake an investigation followed by a joint inquiry with Egypt's army to look into the death of five Egyptian border guard police officers.


Funeral of Egyptian police officers (Photo: AFP)
Funeral of Egyptian police officers (Photo: AFP)


"The appropriate conclusions shall be drawn in line with the inquiry's findings," the defense minister said. While Egyptian officials accuse the IDF of killing the Egyptian troops during the battle against the terrorists, Israeli military officials have not yet ascertained the circumstance of the incident.


One of the possibilities being looked into is that the Egyptian forces were killed by explosive devices or shots fired by the terrorists.


Meanwhile, referring to reports on Egypt's envoy to Israel, Egyptian sources told Ynet: "We have not received official instructions. We are waiting for orders from Cairo; the procedural aspect has not yet been finalized." Another indication that Egypt may be looking to terminate the tensions is the Egyptian information minister's comments in a press conference, where he said Cairo was demanding an official Israeli apology but did not say Egypt's ambassador will be recalled.


Attila Somfalvi, Roee Nahmias and Hanan Greenberg contributed to the story




פרסום ראשון: 08.20.11, 17:25
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