World Bulletin / News Desk
Israel said on Tuesday it had received a letter from Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi indicating he wanted to work for peace in the Middle East, but Mursi's office later denied sending it.
An Israeli official, who asked to remain anonymous, said the denial was to be expected, due to the sensitivity of the issue.
Israeli President Shimon Peres's office said earlier on Tuesday he had received a letter from the Muslim Brotherhood's Mursi, in the first such missive to Israel since Mursi took office at the end of last month.
The letter, distributed by Peres's office, said: "I am looking forward to exerting our best efforts to get the Middle East peace process back to its right track in order to achieve security and stability for all peoples of the region, including (the) Israeli people."
Hours later, Mursi's spokesman branded the letter a fake.
"The letter that the media reported to have been sent from President Mursi to Israel was fake. President Mursi has not sent anything to Israel," spokesman Yasser Ali told Reuters.
An official from Peres's office said the letter was "authentic".
"It was received by the Egyptian ambassador and handed over (to Peres's office). The denial was to be expected, given the letter's high publicity in Israeli and Egyptian media," the official told Reuters news agency, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.
Peres's office had distributed a copy of the letter to media, as well as a copy of an Egyptian embassy message sent along with it. The official spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.
The Egyptian embassy in Israel could not be reached for comment.
Last June, an Iranian news agency reported it spoke to Mursi a few hours before the announcement of the election results, but his spokesman then also denied that the interview took place.
A second Israeli official who spoke on condition of anonymity, described Mursi's letter as being one that gave "a general message with a positive spirit, but did not indicate any new direction" in bilateral relations.
The presidency in Israel is a largely ceremonial post. Peres had sent Mursi two letters, his office said, one congratulating him for winning the vote and a second letter of greetings to mark the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had also sent Mursi a letter congratulating him on his electoral victory. He has not yet received a reply.
The Middle East peace process has stalled, with U.S.-brokered negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians breaking down in 2010 because Israel refused to stop illegal settlements.
"There was an over-interpretation in the text and my memory failed me, because after a check it was revealed that there was no such meeting in Moscow between Tusk and Putin," said Sikorski
Police said that more than 100 Palestinians had been arrested since July – when a Palestinian teenager was murdered by suspected Jewish settlers – for pelting passing trains with rocks.
Army called out for rescue operation due to mountainous nature of area
Ramallah-based Fatah movement had invited representatives of rival faction Hamas – which has governed the Gaza Strip since 2007 – to attend the event
Snowden's leaks indicated that GCHQ and the NSA had intercepted and monitored phone, email and social media communications on a massive scale, causing global uproar.
Thaliand's military junta has applied to join UN Human Rights Council, but laws on insulting monarchy threaten to undermine its application
Judges postponed trial proceedings in order to hear arguments from the plaintiffs' lawyers at the next hearing
Moscow has said the request is related to suspicion of fraud dating back to 2004 and 2005. Koblyakov has denied the charges and says he fears political persecution by Russian authorities
18,000 dwellings were destroyed or damaged in 50 days of Israeli attacks, and 108,000 people are homeless in a long impoverished, isolated territory.
ISIL seized large areas of Deir al-Zor's industrial region, meaning it now controls more than half the city
Haroon Aswat, 40, a British citizen of Indian descent, is wanted in the United States for allegedly conspiring to establish a militant training camp
Leung Chun-ying was talking just hours before the start of formal talks between student protest leaders and city officials aimed at defusing the crisis
22 people, including attackers, killed in a market place by 4 armed men in East Turkestan
Hamas denounced what he described as "blackmail" by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, who recently said reconstruction of the war-battered strip would be halted if Hamas began repairing cross-border tunnels
Ibrahim Ghandour, vice president of the National Congress Party, told Reuters Bashir had been chosen by the party's decision-making council out of five candidates
Israeli forces fired dozens of teargas canisters at Palestinians demonstrating outside Israel's Ofer Prison in Ramallah