Israel Envoy Visits Egypt for First Time Since Cairo Embassy Attack

Foreign Ministry officials say visit is symbolic gesture of Israel's wish to repair ties with Egypt; Cairo has yet to respond to Israeli security requests that would enable a permanent return of its representative.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
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ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Israel's outgoing ambassadoe to Egypt visited Cairo on Sunday for the first time since Israeli diplomats were returned to Israel following an attack on the Israeli embassy by Egyptian protesters two months ago.

Egyptian protesters broke into the Israeli Embassy in September, dumping hundreds of documents out of its windows after a day of demonstrations. Protesters used sledge hammers and their bare hands to tear apart the embassy's security wall.

Egyptian soldiers guarding the shattered entrance of the Israeli Embassy in Cairo Sunday.Credit: AP

Three Egyptian civilians were killed and a total of 1,049 injured, including 46 police and military soldiers, during the attack on the embassy, as Egyptian forces confronted the mob.

Israel's ambassador Yitzhak Levanon, who is due to be replaced as ambassador to Egypt in two weeks, arrived in the country on Sunday for the first time since that attack. He was planning to stay in Cairo for two days to hold a series of farewell meetings with Egyptian officials and other foreign representative.

Israeli Foreign Ministry officials indicated that the visit was a symbolic gesture, meant to signal Jerusalem's desire to return ties with its neighbor to the south to normalcy.

However, Shin Bet officials have yet to approve the permanent return of Israel's envoy to Egypt for security reasons.

Sources within the Foreign Ministry claimed that Egypt has yet to respond to an Israeli request regarding security arrangements near the ambassador's residence as well regarding the embassy's planned new location.

Ya'akov Amitai has been named to replace Levanon as Israel's ambassador, and is expected to enter office in early December. It has not yet been made clear, however, whether the requested security arrangements will be in place at that time. If security will not setup according to Israel's requests at that time, Amitai will arrive to submit his letter of credence, stay in Cairo for a few days, and return to Israel.

קראו כתבה זו בעברית: שגריר ישראל שב לקהיר, לראשונה מאז ההתקפה על השגרירות

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