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Report: Eilat attackers included Egyptians

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JERUSALEM (JTA) — Three of the terrorists in last week’s attacks near Eilat were Egyptian members of an extremist Islamic group, an Egyptian newspaper reported.

The Egyptian daily newspaper Al-Masry Al Yaoum reported that one of the terrorists had escaped from an Egyptian prison during the recent coup that overthrew President Hosni Mubarak. The identities of the terrorists were discovered during an investigation into the incident by the Egyptian security forces, according to the newspaper. The three terrorists were killed in firefights with Israeli troops.

The Egyptian investigation also reportedly found that Israeli troops entered the Sinai Peninsula in pursuit of the terrorists, and that the troops exchanged fire with Egyptian forces. Five Egyptian policemen and soldiers were killed in the fighting, Haaretz reported, in addition to the three Egyptian terrorists. Until now, the Egyptian casualty count was said to be three.

Israel originally had said the attackers near Eilat were Palestinian terrorists who had traveled through the Sinai from Gaza, but at this point it’s not clear whether or not Palestinians were involved in the attack.

In Cairo, protesters demonstrating in front of the Israeli Embassy are calling for a million-man protest to demand the expulsion of Israel’s ambassador to Israel, th Egyptian paper reported. Protesters also marched in front of the home of the Israeli ambassador. 

The newspaper also reported that Egyptian Ambassador to Israel Yasser Reda declined an iftar dinner invitation by Israeli President Shimon Peres and sent his deputy instead, a move perceived as an intentional snub.

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