Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon discussed developments in Syria and Egypt with his US counterpart Chuck Hagel on Wednesday, according to statements issued by both of their offices.
The conversation was part of ongoing discussions between the parties, Ya’alon’s office said, but it came amid accusations of a chemical weapons massacre in Syria and reports that longtime Egyptian autocrat Hosni Mubarak faced imminent release.
The men “agreed to continue to maintain intensive dialogue on the multitude of challenges facing” their two countries, the Pentagon statement read.
On Wednesday, Syrian anti-government activists accused President Bashar Assad’s regime of carrying out a toxic gas attack in the suburbs of Damascus that killed at least 100 people — one rebel group put the figure as high as 1,300 — including many children as they slept. The government denied using chemical weapons.
In a decision sure to cause a firestorm in Egypt, a court ordered Mubarak, detained since April of 2011, to be released. Interim Egyptian Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi said in a statement late Wednesday that he ordered the 85-year-old former leader to house arrest, a move that appeared orchestrated to deflect criticism on the part of Islamists for Mubarak’s release.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.