Egypt   Israel border rafah
© GettyEgypt and Israel have technically been at peace since the late 1970s.
The murder of a Canadian-Israeli businessman in Alexandria came a day after the Israeli army seized control of Rafah Border Crossing.

The Egyptian authorities opened an investigation into the murder of a Canadian-Israeli businessman in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, an incident believed to be triggered by Israel's ongoing onslaught on the Gaza Strip.

In a brief statement released in the early hours of Wednesday, the Egyptian Interior Ministry said that a Canadian man was shot in Alexandria and that a team of investigators has been formed to probe what it described as "a criminal case."

An Egyptian security official told The New Arab that senior national security officers are among the investigators tasked with probing the case.

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"Several suspects are currently being interrogated...but we can't officially declare the identity of the perpetrator yet," said the source, on condition of anonymity for not being authorised to brief the media, adding that "Israeli officials demanded that the Egyptian Intelligence Agency be involved in the investigation."

Identified as Ziv Kipper, the slain man had reportedly been living and working in Egypt for almost nine years, entering the country using his Canadian passport; he was the CEO of O.K Group LLC, a company that exports frozen fruits and vegetables, according to his LinkedIn account.

Egypt's Interior Ministry did not refer to the victim as an Israeli national.

Shortly after the incident took place on Tuesday, an outlawed militant organisation named "the Vanguards of Liberation — the Group of Martyr Mohamed Salah" claimed responsibility for Kipper's murder.

In an unverified statement in Arabic posted on a Telegram group, which also went viral over the past hours, the group claimed that Kipper was an Israeli spy who used his business as a cover for his espionage activities, which included recruiting agents to spy on Egypt for Israeli intelligence - Mossad.

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The group alleged that the information it gathered on Kipper had been based on "decisive intelligence."

TNA could not independently verify the authenticity of the statement in question.

The group names itself after Mohamed Salah, a security force member serving along the Egyptian border with Israel believed to be involved in killing three Israeli soldiers in June last year after he entered Israel's territories and was killed during an exchange of fire.

Most Egyptians and Arabs, in general, consider Salah a hero and a martyr for shooting at and being killed by Israeli soldiers.

Meanwhile, Israeli news outlets reported, citing Israel's Foreign Ministry as saying that "it was reviewing reports of the murder."

Global Affairs Canada, on its part, said that it was "aware of the reports of the death of a Canadian Citizen in Egypt," Jerusalem Post reported.

TNA could not reach the Egyptian Foreign Ministry for comment at the time of publication.

The homicide of the Canadian-Israeli businessman came a day after the Israeli army launched military ground operations in eastern Rafah, seizing control of the Rafah border crossing, Gaza's only connection to humanitarian aid, which outraged Egyptians nationwide.

Gaza's southern Rafah city currently harbours over 1.5 million displaced Palestinians of a population of almost 2.3 million.

Despite a technical state of peace with Israel since the late 1970s, the Egyptian public has been at loggerheads with their country's successive regimes over normalisation.

Diplomatically and commercially, Cairo has been treating the self-proclaimed Jewish state as a friendly country with strong ties in several areas.

In October 2023, a low-ranking Egyptian police officer opened fire randomly at a group of Israeli tourists, also in Alexandria, killing two Israelis and a local tour guide in reaction to the war on Gaza, an incident that divided Egyptians for days.

Over past decades, the Egyptian successive regimes have played a key role in mediating peace deals between the Palestinians and Israelis, as well as among rival Palestinian factions.

However, tensions have escalated between the two countries since the start of Israel's war on Gaza erupted on 7 October last year, claiming the lives of nearly 35000 Palestinians, many of them women and children.