Cairo atoned for, Ankara waits
JERUSALEM - Agence France-Presse
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. AP photoIsrael is to apologize to Cairo over the deaths of six Egyptian policeman, according to an announcement which coincided with news of an Egyptian-brokered deal for the release of Gilad Shalit
The apology was expected to be formally extended yesterday. In a statement released Oct. 11 evening Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israel and Egypt had concluded a joint inquiry into the deaths of six Egyptians killed by Israeli fire on Aug. 18.
The deaths, which raised tensions between Israel and Cairo, occurred as Israeli troops chased a number of gunmen responsible for carrying out a series of shooting attacks which killed eight Israelis.
In his statement, Barak said Israel was willing to issue an apology over the deaths. “Based on the findings of the investigation, Barak decided to apologize to the Egyptians over the death of every Egyptian policeman in the line of duty as the result of Israeli fire,” it said. The Egyptian state news agency MENA said Egyptian intelligence chief Murad Muwafi was a key player in helping seal the deal between Israel and Hamas. “General Murad Muwafi succeeded in concluding the deal,” the agency said. “His discussions with the Israeli side were done over the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.”
In the meantime, Turkey’s demand for a formal apology from the Israeli government over the Mavi Marmara Flotilla incident still remains unfulfilled. The Israeli government had refused to issue a formal apology for the raid which resulted in the death of 9 Turkish citizens, despite the political pressure put on by Turkey, causing the issue to turn into a diplomatic deadlock. The relation between the one-time allies deteriorated significantly, hitting a new low recently when Turkey downgraded ties with the state of Israel