Middle East News
Egypt says Israeli apology for border killings insufficient
Aug 21, 2011, 11:38 GMT
Cairo/Tel Aviv - Egypt on Sunday described as 'insufficient' an official apology from Israel for the killing of five Egyptian policemen on their shared border, the semi-official newspaper Al-Ahram reported online.
'Although the Israeli statement is seemingly positive, it is not on par with the gravity of the incident and the Egyptians' anger at the Israeli acts,' the cabinet said in a statement, quoted by the newspaper, following a crisis meeting.
Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak on Saturday said his country 'regrets' the deaths, and that the circumstances of the killings would be examined jointly with the Egyptian army.
Barak's remarks came hours after Egypt threatened to recall its ambassador to Tel Aviv until Israel apologized for the deaths, which occurred Friday during an Israeli shootout with Palestinian militants near the Egyptian border.
'The (Egyptian) government considers the launch of a joint investigation into the incident a positive step. It calls for setting a deadline for completing this joint inquiry,' the cabinet statement said.
Israeli President Shimon Peres on Sunday said that both Israel and Egypt had a real interest in seeing Sinai return to being 'a peninsula of peace.'
Peres was visiting the family of a soldier killed during the attacks near Eilat in southern Israel on Thursday, reported The Jerusalem Post.
The president also offered his condolences to the families of the Egyptian policemen who were killed on the border, the report said.
Meanwhile, eight rockets landed on Egyptian territory from the neighbouring Gaza Strip, said an Egyptian military source Sunday.
There were no casualties and Egypt was investigating the incident to determine who had fired the rockets, the source said.
The violence has escalated between Palestinians in Gaza and Israel after Thursday's attacks in Eilat in which eight people died.
Early Sunday, an Egyptian protester removed the Israeli flag from outside the embassy in Cairo as thousands protested the deaths of the policemen, activists said.
The protester climbed 17 storeys to remove the flag, and was carried on the shoulders of his fellow demonstrators on his descent. People cheered and drivers honked their car horns as the protesters prevented the military police from arresting him.
The man climbed the building after several failed attempts by the crowd to ignite the flag using fireworks.
Crowds have been protesting in front of the embassy in Cairo for three days, demanding that the envoy be expelled over the killing of the five policemen.
The current crisis is the worst between the two countries since they signed a peace treaty in 1979.
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