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Hamas welcomes withdrawal of Egypt's envoy to Israel

Aug. 20, 2011 3:47 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 21, 2011 12:21 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) – Hamas on Saturday applauded Egypt's decision to withdraw the country’s ambassador to Israel in protest of the killing of Egyptian security forces in the Sinai late Thursday.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement that “Hamas appreciates the decision to withdraw the occupation entity's ambassador in protest of the crime of killing three Egyptians in addition to the Palestinian martyrs.”

Abu Zuhri also applauded Egypt's condemnation of Israel and its solidarity.

State television said Saturday that Egypt decided to withdraw its ambassador from Israel to protest the deaths on the border during retaliatory attacks on Palestinian militants.

"Egypt has decided to withdraw its ambassador to Israel until there is an official apology," it said.

The Egyptian government had asked "for an official apology from Israel" at the end of a crisis meeting overnight, the state-run MENA news agency reported in a statement.

Information Minister Osama Heykal said the policemen were killed "inside Egyptian territory as a result of an exchange of fire between Israeli forces and armed elements inside Israeli territory."

It is the second time that Egypt, the first Arab country to have signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, recalls its ambassador from Tel Aviv.

In November 2000 Egypt recalled its envoy from Israel to protest over what it said was "the excessive use of force by Israel against the Palestinians after the second intifada," or Palestinian uprising.
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