11 Israeli pilots stuck in Egypt after trying to enter without visas
A total of 11 Israeli pilots have been stuck in Egypt after they had landed in the country without obtaining entry visas first, Israeli local media outlets reported overnight, citing the foreign ministry and the Kan public broadcaster.
Time of Israel newspaper quoted Kan as reporting that the pilots were allegedly "pushed physically" towards their planes, though they mentioned they did not have sufficient fuel to fly back home.
The Egyptian authorities were seeking to deport the pilots together with the planes they flew for "national security matters," the report added.
It remains unclear whether the pilots were military-affiliated or civil, nor was the type of jets they were flying mentioned.
Meanwhile, the Israeli foreign ministry confirmed the reports, whereas the Egyptian side could not be reached for comment until the time of publishing.
"We are handling the issue both at the embassy in Cairo and at the headquarters in Jerusalem so that the pilots can leave Egypt and return to Israel. They flew to Egypt without a visa. This is a mistake on their part and, as a result, they cannot enter the country," Israel National News online outlet quoted a ministry source as saying.
No further details were immediately available.
Local Egyptian media mostly ignored the news on the 11 pilots.
Late Egyptian president Anwar Sadat normalised relations with Israel in the 1970s, after long years of fighting, under the sponsorship of the US. At a diplomatic level, the Egyptian government currently treats Israel as a friendly country with which it has strong ties in different fields, particularly security.