, CAIRO, Aug 20 – Egypt has decided to withdraw its ambassador to Israel to protest the deaths of five policemen killed on the border during retaliatory attacks on Palestinian militants, state television said on Saturday.
“Egypt has decided to withdraw its ambassador to Israel until there is an official apology,” it said. Egypt’s military chief of staff, Sami Enan, headed to the Sinai on Friday to probe the deaths of the policemen killed a day earlier.
There have been conflicting reports from the Egyptian military and police about how they lost their lives.
A military official told Egypt’s official MENA news agency on Thursday that they were killed by stray Israeli helicopter fire aimed at the fleeing gunmen.
But on Friday, the state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper quoted a military official as saying the policemen were killed by gunmen trying to slip in from Israel.
Enan’s visit was announced shortly after another policeman was declared dead following a border gunfight on Friday, which left one of his comrades gravely wounded with a bullet in the head.
Earlier, Israeli security sources told AFP they had information that a man had blown himself up on the Egyptian side of the border, saying they believed he was one of the men on the run.
Hundreds of people demonstrated outside the Israeli embassy in Cairo on Friday calling for the recall of the ambassador and denouncing the Jewish state for the attacks.