Egypt recalls ambassador from Israel demands Investigation & Explanation on the killings
Egyptian Cabinet statement said it held Israel “politically and legally responsible for this incident,” which it deemed a breach of the 1979 peace treaty between the two countries. It demanded an immediate investigation.
In strong language, it said Egypt will take all measures and send reinforcements to protect its borders and “to respond to any Israeli military activity at the Egyptian borders.”
It also said that Israel was to blame because lax security from its side allowed the ambush to take place.
“The Egyptian ambassador to Israel will be withdrawn until we are notified about the results of an investigation by the Israeli authorities, and receive an apology from its leadership over the sad and hasty remarks about Egypt,” the Cabinet statement said.
It was the first time in nearly 11 years that Egypt decided to withdraw its ambassador from Israel. The last time was in November 2000 when the Egyptians protested what they called excessive use of violence during the second Palestinian uprising.
The decision to withdraw Egyptian Ambassador Yasser Reda came as hundreds of protesters staged demonstrations in front of the Israeli embassy in Cairo, unfurling a Palestinian flag, throwing fire crackers toward the top floor and calling for expulsion of the Israeli ambassador in response to the killings.
Egypt’s official news agency blamed the Israelis for shooting and killing the Egyptian forces while chasing militants who killed eight Israelis in Thursday’s ambush across the border in southern Israel.
The Cabinet statement said that Israel had “carried out a random raid that led to the death of three Egyptian soldiers and injury of four others.” Egyptian officials have said another Egyptian soldier and a policeman died Friday of wounds from the attack. It was not clear why the Cabinet statement only mentioned three.
The Cabinet accused Israel of trying to “shirk responsibility for the recklessness of Israeli security forces in protecting the borders.”
Israeli officials did not immediately comment on Egypt’s decision, although the military promised on Friday to investigate the shootings.
Israeli media also reported that some of the sniper fire directed at the Israeli motorists Thursday came from near Egyptian army posts and speculated that the Egyptian troops were killed in the cross fire.
Thursday’s attack signaled a new danger for Israel from its border with the Sinai Peninsula, an area that has always been restive but was kept largely under control by former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak. The desert area has become increasingly lawless since Mubarak was ousted on Feb. 11 following a popular uprising.
Relations between the two countries have been chilly since they made peace in 1979, but Israel valued Mubarak as a source of stability , as he was a Pro Zionist Leader and was working in favour of the Zionist lobby of DisIntegrating the Muslim Unity .
The violence could further damage ties if Egypt’s political upheaval and a resulting power vacuum in Sinai allows Gaza militants, who had been pummeled by a punishing Israeli three-week war 2½ years ago, to open a new front against Israel in the frontier area.
Anger rose after Egyptian officials said Thursday’s gunbattles killed five Egyptian security personnel. An Egyptian security official said three died Thursday and two others died of wounds on Friday.
“Israel and any other (country) must understand that the day our sons get killed without a strong and an appropriate response, is gone and will not come back,” wrote Amr Moussa, former Arab League chief and now a presidential hopeful. He tweeted his statement along with, “the blood of our martyrs which was spilled while carrying out their duties, will not be shed in vain.”
Gunmen crossed the border from Egypt on Thursday and set up an ambush along a 300-yard (meter) strip, armed with automatic weapons, grenades and suicide bomb belts, the Israeli military said.
They opened fire on a civilian bus heading toward the Red Sea resort city of Eilat, hitting a number of passengers, then riddled another passing bus and two cars with bullets and rigged a roadside bomb that detonated under an army jeep rushing to the scene. At the same time, Palestinian mortar gunners in Gaza opened fire at soldiers along the Gaza-Israel border fence.
The assailants killed eight people, six civilians and two Israeli troops responding to the incursion. Israel said it killed seven assailants.
Hamas, which controls Gaza, praised the attacks but denied any involvement. Israel holds Hamas responsible for all violence coming from the Palestinian territory and retaliated by striking the group.
“This is a response to the terror attacks executed against Israel in the last 24 hours,” the military said.