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Israel to probe reports of 1967 mass grave for Egyptian soldiers, Lapid tells al-Sisi

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Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid told Egyptian President Abdelfattah al-Sisi that Israel will probe reports of a mass grave of around 80 Egyptian commandos from 1967, the Egyptian Presidency said on Sunday.

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“Mr. Lapid confirmed that Israel will deal with this matter in a positive and transparent manner, and that it will communicate and coordinate with the Egyptian authorities regarding developments in the matter in order to get to the truth,” al-Sisi’s office said.

Lapid’s office also said in a statement on Sunday that al-Sisi “raised the report about the collective grave of Egyptian soldiers during the Six Day War,” and added that the Prime Minister “directed his Military Secretary, Maj.-Gen. Avi Gil to examine the issue in depth and to update Egyptian officials.”

The call comes after Israeli news media Haaretz and Ynet News published exposes on the mass grave in Jerusalem buried under the Kibbutz Nahshon, home to the Mini Israel tourist attraction.

During the Six-Day War in 1967, an elite Egyptian army unit sustained heavy losses in Jerusalem and their bodies were buried in a 20-meter grave.

Residents of the nearby Kibbutz – communal settlement in Israel, typically a farm – complained about the stench of the grave and one member spoke to Israeli media about the issue but the report was banned from being published by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

During the 1967 war between Israel and Arab countries including Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, Israel captured Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and the West Bank. The war ended after six days due to a United Nations-brokered ceasefire which was signed by Egypt and Israel.

Egypt then fought Israel again in 1973 during the Suez crisis when Egyptian troops crossed the canal in a surprise attack.

The two countries signed a peace agreement in 1979, which called for the normalization of relations between Egypt and Israel and a full withdrawal of forces from the Sinai Peninsula, in which Egypt agreed to turn Sinai into a demilitarized zone.

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