Egypt: Verbal Apology From Israel for Policemen Deaths Not Enough

Source says that Egypt is demanding an official apology from Israel as well as a pledge for open investigations into the incident and compensation payments.

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Egypt's Foreign Ministry said Saturday that a verbal apology from Israel for the deaths of Egyptian policemen near its border was not enough, according to a ministry source.

"We demand Israel make an official apology," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Egyptians burn an Israeli flag during a demonstration outside the Israeli embassy in Cairo on August 19, 2011Credit: AFP

He said the Israeli charge d'affaires in Cairo would be summoned later Saturday to the Foreign Ministry to be notified of Egypt's "extreme protest" at the border killings.

"The Israeli ambassador has been away from Egypt for a while," said the source.

Egypt was also demanding a pledge from Israel to open investigations into the incident, he said, and pay compensation.

The source said Egypt was considering recalling its ambassador to Israel in "protest," but not immediately. "Egypt needs to keep its ambassador in Tel Aviv to handle the situation."

Meanwhile, thousands of Egyptians continued protesting outside the Israeli embassy in Cairo, demanding the envoy be expelled over the killing of the five policemen on Friday.

The number of protesters increased after the government said it would recall its ambassador to Tel Aviv, according to witnesses.

"What is more important than withdrawing the Egyptian ambassador from Israel is for Egypt to demand an amendment to an article in its (peace) treaty with Israel restricting its right to have military troops in Sinai to protect the Egyptian border," Ayman Nour, a potential presidential contender, told the German Press Agency dpa.

The Egyptian army on Saturday beefed up its presence outside the building near the Nile River, which houses the Israeli embassy, the semi-official newspaper Al-Ahram reported online.

Ten armored vehicles were stationed outside the building while protesters shot fireworks into the air and chanted anti-Israel slogans, according to the report.

The government said it held Israel responsible for the 'political and legal implications of the incident,' which it called a violation of the 1978 Camp David accords that govern peace between the two countries.

'Egypt will also take protective measures and strengthen security on the border with the necessary forces capable of deterring alleged infiltrators as well as respond to any activity by the Israeli military,' the cabinet said in a statement after an emergency meeting.

The policemen were on patrol in the Egyptian region of Sinai when they came under fire from across the border, sources at the Interior Ministry said.

Tensions have mounted along Egypt's borders with Israel and the Gaza Strip after deadly attacks in southern Israel on Thursday.



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