Saturday, August 20, 2011

Israel apologizes to Egypt

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak (C) and Israeli chief of staff Lt. General Benjamin 'Benny' Gantz (L) arrive kilometers away from the southern city of Eilat, on August 18, 2011, following a number of assaults that killed eight Israelis.

Source: Press TV

The Israeli defense minister has apologized to Cairo for the death of five Egyptian soldiers who were killed in Israeli airstrikes on Thursday.

"Israel deeply regrets the deaths of the Egyptian officers," AP quoted Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak as saying on Saturday.

He made the remarks hours after Egyptian state television announced that Egypt had "decided to withdraw its ambassador to Israel until there is an official apology."

Egypt has also demanded that Israel halt its deadly airstrikes on the impoverished Gaza Strip.

On Friday, angry Egyptian protesters called on their government to cut ties with Israel and expel its ambassador.

On Thursday, Israel began two days of airstrikes on the Gaza Strip and Gaza's border with Egypt.

The airstrikes killed five Egyptian officers on Thursday.

Sixteen Palestinians were killed and another 45 were injured in the airstrikes.

Israel claims it launched the attacks in response to assaults that targeted two buses and a military vehicle near the Red Sea resort of Eilat in southern Israel, which left eight Israelis dead.

The attack that killed the Egyptian officers has escalated tension between Egypt and Israel.

Egypt was the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, but the situation has changed drastically since dictator Hosni Mubarak was deposed in February, and a number of Egyptian political parties are now calling for changes to the peace treaty.

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