Netanyahu clarifies comments on embassy attack

PMO clarifies Netanyahu's comments that Israel threatened to send troops into Cairo during the 2011 attack on the Israeli embassy.

Nitsan Keidar ,

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at Yom Hazikaron ceremony
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at Yom Hazikaron ceremony
Haim Zach/GPO

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s office on Tuesday evening issued a clarification of comments made by the Prime Minister earlier in the day about the 2011 attack on the Israeli embassy in Cairo.

Speaking at a Foreign Ministry ceremony on the eve of Yom Hazikaron, Netanyahu had claimed that Israel had threatened to send troops to Cairo during the embassy crisis.

"Here, several years ago, in the situation room of the ministry of foreign affairs, we dealt with a siege that grew ever tighter around our people in the Israeli embassy in Cairo," he said.

"A wild mob came to slaughter our people and that night we worked with all the tools at our disposal, including threats to extract them using the Israel Defense Forces, which finally tipped the scale," added Netanyahu.

Until Tuesday’s speech, it was widely believed that it was President Barack Obama who intervened with the Egyptians in order to solve the embassy crisis.

Hours after the remarks, Netanyahu’s bureau issued a statement saying that his comments did not mean he was speaking of unilateral action.

"In the circumstances referred to, the intention was to act in coordination, with the Egyptians, not unilaterally," it said.

"We are happy that there was no need for this and we thank the Egyptian army which dealt with the crisis in a responsible manner and brought about a solution to the problem."

"Prime Minister Netanyahu greatly appreciates the relations with Egypt, and the peace agreement with it is an important element in the stability of the region," the statement stressed.