Netanyahu: We threatened to send troops to Cairo

Israeli threats, not Obama's entreaties, saved embassy staff in Cairo during 2011 crisis.

David Rosenberg,

Egyptians burn Israeli flag in Cairo
Egyptians burn Israeli flag in Cairo

Speaking at a Foreign Ministry ceremony on the eve of Yom HaZikaron, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu revealed that Israel had threatened Egypt during the 2011 Cairo embassy crisis.

During the event on Tuesday, held to honor the memory of 16 Foreign Service members who were killed in the line of duty overseas, Netanyahu emphasized that Israel was willing to go anywhere and take any action to protect the lives of its servicemen and women.

The Prime Minister noted that during the siege of Israel’s embassy in Cairo in September 2011, the Egyptian government, then controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood, initially refused to intervene to save the embassy staff from a lynch mob which had surrounded the facility.

As rioters hammered away at the embassy’s outer walls, Netanyahu finally threatened then-President Mohammed Morsi, telling the Egyptian leader that Israel was preparing commando squads for deployment in Cairo.

It was only then, claimed Netanyahu, that Morsi relented and extracted the Israeli staff from the embassy.

Prior to Netanyahu’s comments on Tuesday, it was widely believed that Morsi had intervened in response to requests by US President Barack Obama, who spoke to the Egyptian leader on Israel’s behalf.