Foreign Minister Yair Laid is expected to head to Cairo this week, amid rising tensions between Israel and Hamas, to raise, among other matters, the issue of Israeli hostages and soldiers’ remains held by Hamas in Gaza, according to The Jerusalem Post’s sister paper Maariv.
These include two civilians and the bodies of two soldiers believed killed in the 2014 Gaza war. The foreign minister is also expected to discuss Gaza reconstruction with the Egyptians. Since September Lapid has pushed an economic recovery plan for Gaza in exchange for an understanding with the terrorist group that it would halt its rocket attacks against Israel.
Lapid is also expected to discuss regional security issues with Egyptian officials. It’s likely Lapid will meet with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry.
There is speculation that he could also meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. If so, he would return to him ancient Egyptian artifacts that were illegally smuggled into Israel.
Since the Gaza war in May, Egypt has attempted to broker an indirect truce between Israel and Hamas that could include a prisoner swap for the two hostages and two bodies.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett held a rare meeting with Sisi in September in Sharm e-Sheikh.
On Monday, after the report about Lapid’s pending visit to Egypt first emerged, Hamas issued a number of statements condemning Egypt for its neglect of the Strip.
The terrorist organization added that it is examining “escalation options” with Israel in light of the recent tensions between Palestinians and Israeli security forces.