Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had a phone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday following an unusual fatal event at the border between the two nations, as announced by the Egyptian presidency.
In a statement, the spokesperson for the Egyptian presidency stated that Sisi received a call from Prime Minister Netanyahu concerning the exchange of fire that occurred on the Egyptian-Israeli border last Saturday. Both leaders emphasised the importance of coordination between their countries to clarify the circumstances surrounding the incident.
The Israeli Prime Minister’s office reported that Mr. Sissi offered his condolences to Mr. Netanyahu.
According to a spokesperson, three Israeli soldiers were killed on Saturday by an “Egyptian policeman” who had “infiltrated” Israel from Egypt. The infiltrator was subsequently shot dead.
As per the Egyptian army’s account, a member of the “security forces hunting drug traffickers” crossed a checkpoint between the two nations. This led to an exchange of fire, resulting in three fatalities on the Israeli side, in addition to the death of the Egyptian individual.
Following the incident, which still lacks clarity regarding its circumstances, the Israeli and Egyptian authorities promptly reaffirmed their cooperation.
According to an Israeli source familiar with the case, an Egyptian delegation, including military officials, arrived in Israel on Sunday to participate in a joint investigation. The source added that the attacker was not affiliated with Islamist groups but seemed to have been radicalised.
While the perpetrator’s name has not been officially disclosed, Egyptian media outlets have identified him as Mohamad Salah, a 22-year-old conscript.
Egypt became the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979. However, the normalisation of relations is not universally supported among Egyptians.
Although the border between the two countries is typically peaceful, it has been the site of frequent attempts at drug trafficking in recent years, resulting in occasional exchanges of fire between smugglers and Israeli soldiers stationed along the border.