Israel formally apologises to Egypt for killing soldiers

Ahram Online, Wednesday 12 Oct 2011

Israeli defence ministry issues a long-awaited apology for the killing of five Egyptian soldiers on the Sinai in August

Egyptians protesting outside the Israeli embassy (Photo by Reuters)

The Israeli defence ministry has issued a formal apology to Egypt for the killing of five Egyptian soldiers in August, Israel's Channel 10 reported Tuesday.

The office of Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister, released a statement in which he expressed an apology for the death of Egyptian security personnel, the privately-owned TV channel said. 

Israel is also said to have taken responsibility for the killings which were reported to have taken place on the Egyptian side of the border.

Earlier this week, an Israeli delegation traveled to Cairo and presented a draft of the planned apology to the Egypt's ruling military council for its approval, the Israeli daily Jerusalem Post reported.

Five Egyptian soldiers were killed near the Gaza border on 18 August in heavy exchanges of fire between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants. The militants were said to have ambushed an Israeli bus near the town of Eilat on the Red Sea, killing 10 Israelis and injuring 27.

Israel launched a probe following the incident which recently concluded it was possible some Egyptian soldiers were killed during the fighting between Israeli forces and militants coming from Sinai.

Egypt witnessed a public uproar over the killings, with the military council pressured to take a strong, decisive stance.

A formal apology was requested by Egypt at the time, but while expressing regret over the death of the soldiers, Israel refrained from taking responsibility or apologising for the killings.

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