JERUSALEM (Oct. 6)
Israel has asked Egypt for a full and exhaustive account of the fatal mass shooting incident that occurred in the Sinai yesterday.
Acting Foreign Minister Moshe Arens has instructed Israel’s Ambassador to Egypt, Moshe Sasson, to seek explanations, with 48 hours, on several key points regarding the course of events on the Ras Burka beach near Nueiba, especially regarding the events after the shooting.
Israeli eyewitnesses have claimed that Israeli medics on hand at the time were barred from giving first aid to the wounded. This has been strongly denied by the Egyptian Charge d’Affaires in Tel Aviv, Mohammed Bassiouni.
Government sources in Jerusalem said there would be an official statement issued only after the full picture was clear to the Cabinet. The weekly Cabinet meeting was not held today because of Cho Hamoed Succot. It is scheduled for Tuesday.
Sasson, meanwhile, spoke out today in favor of persevering with efforts to improve ties with Egypt despite the tragic event of yesterday. And a former Ambassador, Eliahu Ben-Elissar, now a leading Likud MK, sought to explain the delays in treating the wounded by referring to a general phenomenon in Egyptian life whereby officials are reluctant to become involved in something bad unless expressly ordered to do so by their superiors.
MUBARAK SENDS MESSAGE OF CONDOLENCES
The Egyptian leadership moved quickly to isolate this incident and prevent it damaging the already strained relationship between the two countries.
President Hosni Mubarak sent a message of condolences to Premier Shimon Peres, and in public statements today stressed that the event was caused by one crazed man and was not linked to current events.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Esmat Abdel Meguid and Defense Minister Mohammed Abu Ghazala were in personal contact with Sasson, offering sympathies and reassurances that there was nothing remotely official or intentional behind the attack. They said the policeman faces a court martial.