Lapid in Egypt to meet Sisi and discuss Hamas hostages

Foreign Minister Yair Laid arrived in Cairo to address, among other things, the issue of Israeli hostages held by Hamas.

 Lapid in Egypt to meet Sisi and discuss Hamas hostages. (photo credit: SHLOMI AMSALEM)
Lapid in Egypt to meet Sisi and discuss Hamas hostages.
(photo credit: SHLOMI AMSALEM)

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi discussed Israeli captives held by Hamas in Gaza during his visit to Cairo on Thursday.

Hamas is still holding Israeli civilians Abera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed captive, along with the bodies of soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, killed in Operation Protective Edge in 2014.

Egypt has long served as a mediator between Israel and the terrorist group that controls Gaza, and has been trying to negotiate a long-term ceasefire between the sides, as well as reconstruction of the coastal enclave.

Lapid also presented his economic recovery plan for Gaza, which would come with an end to Hamas’s rocket attacks on Israel.

“Egypt is an important and special strategic partner for Israel,” Lapid said. “My goal is to strengthen our relations with Egypt in the areas of security, diplomacy and economics.”

 Foreign Minister Yair Laid arrived in Cairo. (credit: SHLOMI AMSALEM) Foreign Minister Yair Laid arrived in Cairo. (credit: SHLOMI AMSALEM)

The foreign minister said it is important to work on peace between the Israeli and Egyptian people.

“The relations between us have taken on historic dimensions,” Lapid said, thanking Sisi for hosting him and for the “warm and open meeting.”

Foreign Minister Yair Laid arrived in Cairo to address, among other things, the issue of Israeli hostages held by Hamas (Credit: Yossi Pones)

Lapid and Sisi discussed the Palestinians and steps Israel has taken to improve their economy, as well as Egypt-Israel bilateral relations in the areas of economics, energy, agriculture and trade.

Also on the agenda for the meeting in Cairo’s Al-Ittihadiya Palace was the Iranian nuclear threat, as well as its terrorist proxies throughout the region.

Lapid also met with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry.

As a diplomatic gesture, Lapid brought Egyptian antiquities that were found in Israel, to be presented to Sisi. Israel Antiquities Authority CEO Eli Escosido joined him on the trip.

On Monday, after the report about Lapid’s pending visit to Egypt first emerged, Hamas issued a number of statements condemning Cairo 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.

Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.