Peres: Sinai should return to being 'peninsula of peace'

August 21, 2011 13:08

President visits family of Golani soldier killed during Eilat terror attack; says peace with Egypt in both countries' interests.

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President Peres visiting family of Moshe Naftali

President Peres visiting family of Moshe Naftali 311. (photo credit:Mark Neiman / GPO)

President Shimon Peres said Sunday that both Israel and Egypt have a real interest in seeing the Sinai Peninsula return to being "a peninsula of peace."

The president made the remarks while visiting the family of a St.-Sgt. Moshe Naftali, the Golani soldier who killed during a cross-border terror attack near Eilat on Thursday, He was also expected to visit the family of Pascal Avrahami, a senior Police Counter-Terrorism Unit officer who was also killed in a firefight during the attack.

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In addition to the condolence visits, Peres also offered his condolences to the families of Egyptian policemen and soldiers who were killed along the Israeli border during the attack.

The deaths of the Egyptians has become a diplomatic incident between Jerusalem and Cairo.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak expressed regret on Saturday for the deaths of Egyptian security officers who were apparently shot by IDF troops as they returned fire at the terrorists who carried out the attacks near Eilat.

Egypt, later the same day said that the statement was insufficient. Although the Egyptian cabinet said in a statement that it was satisfied by Barak's offer to conduct a joint investigation into the matter, it "does not fit with the weight of the incident and the state of Egyptians' outrage from the Israeli actions," the statement added.

Egypt, the statement continued, "confirms it is keen on the peace with Israel, Tel Aviv also will have to share its responsibilities in protecting that peace," MENA said.

The defense minister's statement also received criticism from the Knesset. MK Ahmed Tibi (UAL-Ta'al) said on Sunday that, "Barak didn't apologize to the Egyptians over the killing of their soldiers, it was just an expression of regret. The Egyptians understood that," Tibi said via his Twitter account.

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