Cairo airport officials seized the gun of an Israeli diplomat who carried it on board an Air Sinai flight rather than depend on Egyptian protection.
”According to international aviation regulations, the weapon should have been placed in the cargo compartment and later handed over to the passenger upon arrival,” said airport security director Salah Zeyada, describing the incident as “a big mistake.”
The gun-carrying diplomat was accompanying Israel’s Ambassador to Egypt, Yaakov Amitai.
Zeyada also protested the diplomat's carrying the weapon inside the airport terminal, where customs agents seized the weapon to check if it matched its license. Explosive experts were called to the terminal, where they examined the weapon.
The London-based Arabic language newspaper Al-Hayat reported that Amitai has demanded that Egypt beef up its security in light of attacks and plots to assassinate Israeli diplomats in Georgia, India and Thailand.
Amitai presented his credentials to military leader Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, who has been in power since the revolution which resulted in former President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster.
Relations between Egypt and Israel are on diplomatic thin ice.
Egypt’s Islamist-dominated parliament on Monday called for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador from Cairo and the recall of Egypt’s envoy to the Jewish state.
The parliament unanimously approved a text prepared by the Arab affairs committee of the People’s Assembly calling for “the expulsion from Egypt of the Israeli ambassador and the recall of Egypt’s envoy from Tel Aviv.” It also called for halting gas exports to Israel.
“Egypt will never be the friend, partner or ally of the Zionist entity which we consider as the first enemy of Egypt and the Arab nation,” read the text.
The Muslim Brotherhood recently threatened to cancel the peace treaty with Israel by putting the issue up for a referendum and letting Egyptians decide. Presidential candidate Moussa Amr, however, recently rejected the possibility that the treaty would be cancelled.