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Shelling Frosts Egypt-Israel Relations

CAIRO, Aug. 20 (UPI) — Israeli officials made conciliatory gestures to Egypt Saturday after Cairo withdrew its ambassador over a border shelling that killed three Egyptians.

Egypt’s interim ruling military council that took over power after President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster earlier this year issued a harsh rebuke to Israel over the incident in which an Israeli helicopter shelled a Sinai border area and killed at least three Egyptian soldiers.

The statement said Egypt was heightening its military presence along the border, CNN reported.

“In response to what happened, Egypt will use all protective measures to strengthen its side of the border region with Israel … as well as respond to any Israeli military activity toward the Egyptian border,” the statement said.

Israeli defense official Amos Gilad spoke on national radio Saturday and repeatedly said Israel’s military had not intentionally targeted any Egyptian security forces. He also said Israel was abiding by the 1978 Camp David Agreement peace treaty between the two countries.

As Israeli government officials said an investigation was under way to calm the diplomatic strife, Egyptians in Cairo were protesting outside the Israeli embassy in Cairo, state TV showed. Carrying banners calling for the closure of the Israeli embassy, the crowds chanted “Egyptian blood is not cheap,” the report said.

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