AmyTeibel: Egypt Withdraws Ambassador to Israel over Ambush

Egypt recalled its ambassador from Israel Saturday to protest the deaths of at least three Egyptian soldiers, killed in a shootout between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants, who had launched an attack on Israel from Egyptian soil. The decision sharply escalated tensions between the neighboring countries, whose 1979 peace treaty is being tested by the fall of Egypt's longtime autocratic leader, Hosni Mubarak. Egypt's interim government accused Israel of violating that treaty, and said the envoy would be withdrawn until Israel concludes its investigation into the Egyptian security forces' deaths. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said the Israeli government was holding consultations on the Egyptian move. He had no further comment. The Cabinet, which was appointed by the ruling military council that took over power after Mubarak's ouster, revised an earlier statement, saying that the envoy, Yasser Reda, would be summoned for consultation, something that would have signaled a lower-level spat. Israel was likely to see that as a worrisome sign that Egypt's new leaders would be more responsive to public opinion about the Jewish state, which remains overwhelmingly unpopular because of its conflict with the Palestinians.

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