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Sissi-Netanyahu telephone conversation after rare border incident

Sissi-Netanyahu telephone conversation after rare border incident
A handout released by the Egyptian Presidency shows Israeli Prime Minister ...   -  
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Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi spoke on the phone to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday following a rare deadly incident on the border between the two countries, the Egyptian presidency announced.

Mr. Sissi received a call from Mr. Netanyahu "concerning the exchange of fire that took place on the Egyptian-Israeli border" on Saturday, and they stressed "the importance of coordination between the two countries to clarify the circumstances" of this incident, the spokesman for the Egyptian presidency said in a statement.

Mr. Sissi "offered his condolences" to Mr. Netanyahu, according to the Israeli Prime Minister's office.

Three Israeli soldiers were killed on Saturday by an "Egyptian policeman" who had "infiltrated" Israel from Egypt and was then shot dead, according to an Israeli military spokesman.

According to the Egyptian army's version, a member of the "security forces hunting drug traffickers" crossed a checkpoint between the two countries. An "exchange of fire ensued, resulting in three deaths on the Israeli side" in addition to the death of the Egyptian.

After the incident, the circumstances of which are still unclear, the Israeli and Egyptian authorities were quick to reaffirm their cooperation.

An Egyptian delegation including military officials arrived in Israel on Sunday as part of a joint investigation, according to an Israeli source close to the case. The assailant was not linked to Islamist groups but appeared to have become radicalised, she added.

Although his name has not been officially released, Egyptian media have identified him as Mohamad Salah, a 22-year-old conscript.

Egypt was the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979. However, many Egyptians do not support this normalisation.

While the border between the two countries is generally calm, it remains the scene of regular attempts at drug trafficking, which in recent years have led to exchanges of fire between smugglers and Israeli soldiers stationed along the border.

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