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Egypt-Israel: telephone conversation between Sisi and Netanyahu after a rare border incident


Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi spoke on the phone Tuesday (June 6th) with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following a rare deadly incident on the border between the two countries, the Egyptian presidency announced.

Mr. Sisi received a call from Mr. Netanyahu “regarding the exchange of fire that took place at the border” Saturday, and they pointed out “the importance of coordination between the two countries to clarify the circumstances” of this incident, the spokesman for the Egyptian presidency said in a statement. Mr. Sissi has “expressed his condolences” to Mr. Netanyahu, indicated for its part the office of the Israeli Prime Minister.

Two Israeli soldiers were killed on Saturday by a “Egyptian policeman”, ” infiltrate “ from Egypt to Israel. The assailant, tracked for several hours, was then shot dead during exchanges of fire which caused a third victim among the Israeli soldiers, according to an Israeli military spokesman. The incident took place near the Israeli military base in Harif, about 100 kilometers south of the Gaza Strip.

According to the version of the Egyptian army, a member of the “Security forces chasing drug traffickers” crossed a checkpoint between the two countries. One followed “exchange of fire that left three dead on the Israeli side” in addition to the death of the Egyptian.

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“Very serious and very unusual” incident

After the incident, the circumstances of which remain unclear, the Israeli and Egyptian authorities hastened to reaffirm their cooperation. The same day, Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday called the incident a “very serious and very unusual”promised an investigation “complete”.

On Sunday, thousands of Israelis paid their respects on Sunday to the three Israeli soldiers killed on Saturday, at funerals in several cities in Israel, whose officials have promised to clarify the circumstances of their deaths.

An Egyptian delegation including military officials arrived in Israel on Sunday as part of a joint investigation, according to an Israeli source familiar with the matter. The assailant is not linked to Islamist groups but seems to have become radicalized, she added.

Normalization of relations

Although his name has not been officially released, Egyptian media have identified him as Mohamad Salah, a 22-year-old conscript.

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Egypt was the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979. Many Egyptians, however, do not support this normalization.

While the border between the two countries is generally calm, it remains the scene of regular drug smuggling attempts, which in recent years have resulted in exchanges of fire between smugglers and Israeli soldiers stationed along the border.

Hours before Saturday’s attack, Israeli soldiers foiled an attempt to smuggle drugs across the border. No link has yet been established between this event and the death of the three soldiers, according to an Israeli army spokesman.

The World with AFP