Egypt has warned Iran not to target Israelis on its soil, reported the UK-based publication Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.
Citing Egyptian sources, the report said that Egyptian intelligence officials recently met with their Iranian counterparts and warned them that any attempt to carry out attacks against Israelis in the country would harm ties between Cairo and Tehran.
According to the source, “the Iranian side assured Egyptian officials that Iran is keen not to harm the state of peace with Egypt” and that “Israeli allegations about attempts to target Israeli tourists in third countries is a lie.”
The meetings between the Egyptians and Iranians reportedly saw officials discuss security ties and other regional issues, including the high tensions between Israel and Iran following the recent killings of senior Revolutionary Guard commanders and scientists.
According to the report, Egyptian officials said that, in the past, Cairo has “refused” to engage in any military activity or enter into any alliances directed against Iran, which it considers “futile,” but any attempt by Iran to attack Israelis in the country might lead to a policy change.
But, the source added, “Cairo, despite its current economic crisis, does not want to be a card in the hands of any Gulf party to pressure Tehran.”
Egypt plays a central role in attempting to mediate and resolve conflicts and disputes in the region. Sources told The Jerusalem Post that Cairo shares similar concerns regarding Tehran’s regional activity.
Iran and Israel have been engaged in a years-long shadow war, with the Jewish state carrying out its war-between-wars campaign to prevent the Islamic Republic from smuggling weapons to its proxy groups (like Hezbollah) and to entrench itself in Syria and Lebanon.
Israel has also been accused of attacking Iran’s nuclear program, assassinating senior scientists and attacking sites affiliated with its nuclear program.
Iran has been accused of planning to kidnap and kill Israelis in several countries, most recently in Turkey. Two weeks ago, the National Security Council (NSC) issued rare and specific warnings for Israelis in Istanbul and raised the threat level to the highest of four. It later lowered it back down to three on Tuesday after several cells were arrested by Turkish security forces.
The source quoted by the report added that the warning to Iran came after they received intelligence from Israel that Tehran may be looking for new locations, including Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, to target Israelis after their attempts in Turkey failed.
The report comes after Israel Foreign Ministry Director-General Alon Ushpiz participated in the Negev Summit’s Steering Committee in Manama, the capital of Bahrain, on Monday.
The Negev Summit, which came after the first summit that took place in March in Sde Boker, saw the participation of senior representatives of the foreign ministries of Israel, Bahrain, the US, the UAE, Egypt and Morocco.
It also comes after The Wall Street Journal reported that IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi met with senior Arab military leaders, including Saudi Arabia’s Chief of Staff Gen. Fayyadh bin Hamed Al Ruwaili, in Sharm el-Sheikh in March to discuss countering regional threats posed by Iran.
According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, the meeting was conducted under the auspices of the United States, represented by then-head of Central Command Gen. Frank McKenzie, and brought together the top military commanders from Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt and Jordan.
The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain also sent officers – but not their military chiefs – to the meeting, the report said. Kuwait and Oman didn’t participate.
Quoting sources familiar with the talks, The Wall Street Journal said that officials “reached an agreement in principle on procedures for rapid notifications when aerial threats are detected” during the meetings.