Cairo: Egyptian President Mohammad Mursi has recalled Egypt’s ambassador to Tel Aviv to protest Israel’s deadly attacks on the Gaza Strip, said state television, in the strongest sign of estrangement between Egypt and Israel since the Islamist leader became Egypt’s first elected civilian head of state in June.

Egypt also summoned the Israeli ambassador in Cairo to inform him of its “vehement protest” at the Israeli raids on the Palestinian enclave and demand an “immediate cessation of all forms of aggression”, added the broadcaster late Wednesday.

Mursi has repeatedly pledged to honour Egypt’s peace treaty signed with Israel in 1979, but ignored the mention of Israel’s name in public addresses.

Presidential spokesman Yasser Ali said that Mursi had also instructed the Egyptian delegate to the UN to call for an emergency Security Council to discuss the Israeli onslaught on Gaza.

“President Mursi called during a telephone contact with the secretary-general of the Arab League for holding an emergency meeting,” added Ali. The pan-Arab organisation said it would hold the meeting in Cairo tomorrow.

Israel’s raids on Gaza, which killed a top Hamas commander, were the largest since a 2008-2009 devastating war on the impoverished territory bordering Egypt.

Israel had warm official relations with Cairo under the now-toppled president Hosni Mubarak despite Egyptians’ public opposition.

Dozens of Egyptians stormed the Israeli embassy in Cairo in September 2011 to protest the killing of Egyptian border soldiers in Israeli strikes. The incidents plunged the two countries’ relations in their worst crisis since Mubarak was removed from power in a popular uprising in February last year.