Report: Israeli Ambassador’s Cairo Residence Ringed by Security Forces
By Mohammad Baali
Albawaba.com - Cairo
The Egyptian Ministry of Interior has begun deploying 3,000 soldiers, 75 officers, and 35 armored vehicles in the area around the Israeli ambassador’s residence in Cairo.
The move comes as part of a plan to tighten up security in an area inhabited by the Israeli political and military attaché, the embassy’s first secretary, and large American and Israeli communities.
The intensified security has led to changes in the transportation routes in the area, which in turn spurred Cairo local council member to inquire about the big troop presence.
A ministry representative told them that the forces were there to protect the Israeli ambassador and community against any possible terrorist attack, but the council members were left unconvinced, according to the Cairo-based Al Ahali newspaper.
The daily added that further hot discussions in the council prompted its members to leave the meeting.
Security checks were spreading in the area surrounding the Israeli ambassador’s residence, the paper said, and the police had started to stop pedestrians and cars and inspect them in an unprecedented manner. Furthermore, said the report, security arrangements had forced local officials to relocate a taxi stop and reroute public transportation away from the ambassador’s residence.
However, the news came amid reports that Egyptian diplomatic sources denied on Wednesday Israeli press reports that Egypt accepted the appointment of Gideon Ben Ami as Israel's new ambassador to Cairo, reported the London-based daily Al Sharq Al Awsat.
Israeli press reports said on Tuesday that Egypt accepted the appointment of Ben Ami, replacing Zvi Mazel, who spent almost five years in Cairo.
"The reports are not correct," a diplomatic source told the paper, adding that "a decision to this regard has not been reached yet."
Egypt, which signed the first Arab peace treaty with Israel in 1979, recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv on November 21 while denouncing Israel's excessive use of force in the Palestinian territories.
The Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, at separate meetings in May, decided to halt political contact with Israel - Albawaba.com
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