Israeli Embassy staff leaves Egypt following brief return

Israeli diplomats left Egypt for the second time this month Thursday morning, after returning to Cairo for three days to conduct limited embassy affairs and check on the facility, which was raided by protesters earlier this month.

Informed sources at Cairo International Airport said the diplomatic delegation included Consul General Yaakov Dvir, the embassy's security chief and his deputy. The trio arrived in Cairo on Monday, then departed again to spend the Jewish holidays back home.

There are currently no Israeli officials at the embassy.

Israeli sources had predicted that Ambassador Yitzhak Levanon would be back in Cairo after the Jewish holidays, but the ambassador said he would not  return before the situation in Egypt stabilizes, especially with his term nearing its end next month.

Relations between Cairo and Tel Aviv have been deteriorating since six Egyptian security officers were killed in an Israeli border raid in late August. The incident sparked public uproar in Egypt and provoked calls to expel the Israeli ambassador and cancel the 1979 peace treaty.

Israel said the Egyptian officers were accidentally killed during a search for the perpetrators of a bus attack in Eilat that left nine Israelis dead. Soon after the raid, angry Egyptian protesters tore down the Israeli flag from the embassy.

On 9 September, protesters pulled down a concrete wall Egyptian authorities had erected to protect the embassy and raided the embassy’s archives, throwing  documents out of the windows of the building. The Israeli ambassador had left the embassy before the break-in and the Egyptian military took other diplomatic staff out of the embassy during the protests, after which the staff traveled to Israel.

Clashes between security forces and protesters near the embassy left three dead and hundreds injured.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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