An Israeli newspaper says Israeli-German relations are in a state of crisis following Germany's agreeing to supply Egypt with two modern attack submarines.
A German government spokesman declined to comment Monday on an article which appeared in the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram Friday and cited the commander-in-chief of the Egyptian navy, Osama al-Gindi, as saying: "We have agreed to a deal with Germany to procure two submarines of the latest 209 Class."
According to the Der Spiegel website, the German government "reaffirmed its commitment to Israel after media reports said relations between the two countries had been damaged by an unconfirmed deal to supply Egypt with two German-made submarines."
Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman said only, "There has been no change in the German government's position towards Israel, in the commitment the German government feels towards Israel's security."
But Spiegel reported that the spokesman declined to comment on the alleged deal, saying only that the government "maintained secrecy concerning matters dealt with by the Federal Security Council, a government committee that decides on sensitive weapons export deals."
Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot reported Sunday that ties between Israel and Germany had dramatically deteriorated because of the deal. The Israeli government declined to comment on Monday.
Class 209 submarines are built by the companies HDW and Nordseewerke. Germany has sold some 60 of those vessels to 12 nations. According to Yediot Ahronot, Israel is worried that its navy may fall behind if Egypt gets modern German submarines.