Egyptian and Israeli leaders discuss border shooting, investigation


Cairo (Reuters) – Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed a rare border shooting in which three Israeli soldiers and an Egyptian security officer were killed, the leaders said in separate statements on Tuesday.

Sisi and Netanyahu emphasised the importance of coordination on investigating the incident, Egypt’s presidency said.

“Egypt’s President Sisi expressed his deep condolences over the incident on the Egyptian border,” the statement from Netanyahu’s office said, adding that the leaders pledged to continue strengthening peace and security cooperation.

“The Prime Minister thanked the Egyptian president, as well as for his commitment to a thorough and joint investigation into the incident,” the statement said.

Israel’s military has said that two of its soldiers were shot dead early on Saturday by a member of the Egyptian security services who crossed a remote part of the border fence between the two countries.

After the Egyptian was located by drone he and a third Israeli soldier were killed in an exchange of fire.

According to two Egyptian security sources, the Egyptian has been identified as 22-year-old Mohamed Salah, from the Ain Shams neighbourhood in Cairo.

Salah, who started his border patrol duties over two years ago, did not have any political affiliations and was mentally stable, the sources said, citing investigations with Salah’s friends and family.

They said about 40 people including relatives attended Salah’s burial early on Tuesday, including his family, and that security officials were present. Israel handed over his body to Egyptian authorities on Sunday.

Egypt in 1979 became the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel and they share a border more than 200km (124mile) long where security incidents are unusual.

In a statement on Saturday, Egypt’s military said the Egyptian guard was killed after he chased smugglers across the border. Netanyahu called the incident a terrorist attack.

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