More than 2,000 angry Egyptians broke down barriers at Israel’s embassy in Cairo, burned Israeli flags and raised the Egyptian flag, backing up demands by the provisional military government’s cabinet that Egypt expel Israel’s ambassador.
Egyptian police outside the embassy did not try to prevent the crowd from pulling down the Israeli flag from the embassy.
The new regime condemned Israel for the deaths of Egyptian soldiers during the IDF’s search and destroy operation of the terrorists who staged the sophisticated multi-pronged attack north of Eilat on Thursday. Israel said the terrorists crossed into Egyptian-controlled Sinai from Gaza and continued on to attack Israelis.
The border fence with Sinai, intended to prevent illegal African infiltrators from entering Israel, is far from comlete. The area posed no security threat until Mubarak's overthrow.
Egypt has summoned the Israeli ambassador and said it is not enough for Israel to apologize. The regime’s cabinet said, “Egypt lays on Israel the political and legal responsibility for this incident, which constitutes a breach of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.”
Egypt had requested and received permission from Israel last week to place armed forces in the Sinai despite it being against the peace treaty, in an attempt to put down the chaos reigning in the peninsula since Mubarak's fall.
Its foreign ministry stated, “Egypt denounces the use of force against civilians in any circumstance and strongly advises Israel to immediately stop its military operations against Gaza.”
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor responded, “We hope that the ambassador will not be recalled. He’s still here.”
The Defense and Foreign Ministries said they will carry out a joint investigation with the Egyptian army to determine if there were mistakes in the battle between the IDF and terrorists.
Several eyewitnesses to Thursday’s attack said it appeared to them that Egyptian soldiers fired on Israelis, but this has not been confirmed by military officials. However, one of the terrorist attacks began under the noses of Egyptian soldiers in an observation post adjacent to the Israeli border.
Egypt claimed that the IDF killed three Egyptian police officers while chasing the terrorists inside Egyptian territory. The IDF said that its soldiers fired "toward the sources of fire" and did not aim at Egyptian soldiers.
Israeli officials have contacted American and French counterparts in an effort to calm down Egypt’s diplomatic furor, and Defense Minister Ehud Barak reportedly spoke with the head of Egypt’s Supreme Military Council, Mohammed Hussein Tantawi.
"The peace agreement between Israel and Egypt is of great importance and strategic value to stability in the Middle East," Barak said.