November 20, 2011 - 1:00am

JERUSALEM, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Israel's ambassador to Cairo has travelled to Egypt for the first time since he and his staff were evacuated from the country in September after protesters stormed the Israeli embassy, a Foreign Ministry official said on Sunday.

Playing down the significance of Yitzhak Levanon's trip, the official, who asked not to be identified, said the ambassador went to Egypt on Saturday for farewell meetings with foreign and Egyptian diplomats before his retirement.

Israel's embassy in a high-rise building in Cairo has remained unoccupied since protesters broke in two months ago, trapping Israeli security guards inside until they were rescued by Egyptian troops.

The incident followed the killing in August of five Egyptian security guards by Israeli soldiers pursuing militants who had ambushed and killed eight Israelis along the Israeli-Egyptian border.

The Israeli official said the new ambassador to Cairo, Yaakov Amitai, was expected to travel to the Egyptian capital in December to present his credentials, but the embassy would not be staffed or resume normal activity until acceptable security arrangements were in place.

Many Egyptians view Israel, which signed a peace treaty with Egypt in 1979 after four wars between the two countries, with hostility. Anti-Israeli sentiment, muted before President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in February, has become more vocal.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017