Israeli-Egyptian Relations Tense After Border Shoot-Out

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Not the fight jet in question. Photo: Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

After militants, identified only as being based in Gaza, killed eight Israelis near the Red Sea resort of Eilat on Thursday, tensions on the Sinai Peninsula escalated when an Israeli warplane conducting a raid against suspected militants ended up killing three Egyptian soldiers. Soon after, Egypt recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv and summoned Israel's ambassador in Cairo to demand a probe into the incident. Hoping to avert a full-blown crisis, Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak offered a rare apology, saying the country "deeply regrets the deaths of the Egyptian officers." The New York Times reports that in the wake of the statement, Egyptian state television pulled all coverage of their ambassador's withdrawal and instead now claims that a diplomatic crisis has been averted. Given the region's history of such spats, this one will probably rank among the more level-headed. That is, as long as everyone keeps their guns and bombs to themselves during the coming days.

Israel and Egypt Back Away From Sinai Crisis [NYT]