Israeli embassy attacked in Cairo; ambassador flees

Mishra Cairo/Jerusalem, Sep 10: Egyptian armoured vehicles and troop carriers today (Sep 10) rumbled into Cairo to cordon off the Israeli embassy after protesters stormed the premises, forcing the Israeli envoy and the staff to flee and prompting US to call for the protection of the Jewish mission.

Hundreds of troops had to rush in and take positions around the building housing the Israeli mission after police failed to stop the protesters from barging into the complex and vandalising it.

Three persons were killed and more than 1,000, including 300 policemen injured, in a night long protests during which demonstrators used hammers, large iron bars to tear down the wall outside the embassy building. The Egyptian army had to send a commando force to rescue six Israeli guards trapped in the building surrounded by thousands of protesters.

While the commandos rescued some of the embassy staff, Israeli news portal ''Ynetnews'' said Ambassador Yitzhak Levanon and 80 other members of the diplomatic staff had been sneaked out of Cairo in a secret operation, without giving details.

They were airlifted by a special Israeli Air Force plane. Egypt's military-led interim government declared a state of high alert after the attack.

Protesters torched police trucks and attacked the regional police headquarters after the army intervened to disperse the violent mob who barged into the building housing the Israeli embassy, dumping hundreds of documents out of the windows, tore down the Israeli flag and threw it away.

A former Israeli diplomat told Israeli paper Haaretz that none of the documents were classified.

The attack on the Israeli embassy was the worst since the Jewish state established its mission in Cairo after signing a peace treaty with Egypt in 1979. 


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