CAIRO: Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi decided on Wednesday to recall the ambassador to Israel after a series of air strikes in Gaza killed a top Hamas militant and six other people, his spokesman said.
Morsi decided to “recall Egypt’s ambassador to Israel,” spokesman Yassir Ali said in a statement broadcast on state television.
He also ordered the foreign ministry to summon Israel’s ambassador inCairo and asked the Arab League, based in Cairo, to convene an emergency meeting of foreign ministers.
Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi was preparing for the meeting, a league official said.
Egypt, the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel, in 1979, previously withdrew its ambassador after the second Palestinian intifada that began in 2000, when president Hosni Mubarak was in power.
Morsi, an Islamist elected in June after Mubarak’s overthrow in early 2011, has promised to take a harder line on Israel than his predecessor, who was accused of doing little to stop an Israeli war in Gaza in over New Year 2009.
Morsi “offered his sincerest condolences, in the name of the Egyptian people, to the Palestinians for their martyrs,” Ali said in his terse statement.
Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement, which is closely aligned with the Hamas rulers of neighbouring Gaza, had earlier called for a boycott of Israel.