Crisis with Egypt over? Egypt's ambassador to Israel will remain in the country, Foreign Ministry officials said Saturday evening, as the diplomatic crisis vis-à-vis Cairo in the wake of Thursday's terror attacks appeared to be waning.
Earlier Saturday it was reported that Egypt has recalled the envoy to express its displeasure with the killing of five Egyptian police officers during the terror offensive in southern Israel.
Ynetnews coverage of growing diplomatic tensions:
- Barak: Israel regrets Egyptian deaths
- Arab League to hold meeting on Gaza
- Cairo: Israeli flags torched outside embassy
However, Israeli officials said that Egypt had no intention to recall the ambassador to begin with. The move was merely considered by Cairo and was apparently misinterpreted by the media, the sources said.
Top Israeli officials treated the brewing crisis with the utmost seriousness, convening meetings to discuss Jerusalem's response to the growing tensions. After hours of debates at the highest levels of government, officials decided to offer an apology to Cairo over the Egyptian deaths.
The apology was conveyed in the form of an "expression of regret" issued by Defense Minister Ehud Barak Saturday afternoon.
Israel's statement was conveyed to the Egyptian Foreign Ministry by Shalom Cohen, Israel's former ambassador to Egypt. Cohen arrived in Cairo to replace current envoy, Yitzhak Lebanon, who is currently vacationing in the United States.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry accepted the apology, prompting diplomatic sources in Israel to tell Ynet that "it appears the crisis is behind us."
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