Israel has Received 'No Notification' of Egypt Envoy Recall

Israel said on Saturday it had received no official notification from Egypt that it was recalling its ambassador to Tel Aviv after Egyptian state television reported that claim earlier in the day.

"At no time has Israel been officially notified of a recall of the Egyptian ambassador," foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said.

State television said Cairo had decided to recall its ambassador to protest against the deaths of five of its policemen at the Israeli border on Thursday. Cairo believes they were killed by Israeli forces pursuing militants who killed eight Israelis nearby earlier in the day.

"Israel deeply regrets the loss of lives of members of Egyptian security forces" during the attacks on the Israeli-Egyptian border, said the Israeli spokesman.

"We are fully committed in maintaining the peace agreement with Egypt and in this spirit we will conduct a joint investigation" into the incident with Egypt, said Palmor.

Earlier Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak "regretted" the death of Egyptian policemen.

The deaths of cause the first diplomatic crisis between the two countries since the fall of the regime of Hosni Mubarak in February.

Egypt was the first Arab country to make peace with Israel, in 1979. In 2000, it called its ambassador to protest against "excessive use of force" by Israel against the Palestinians after the outbreak of the second Intifada.

Source: Agence France Presse

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