Saturday, September 10, 2011

Egyptians Storm Israeli Embassy

Egyptian Protesters Break into Israeli Embassy in Cairo

The Associated Press
Saturday, 10 September 2011

A group of about 30 protesters broke into the Israeli embassy in Cairo on Friday and threw hundreds of documents out of the windows, Egyptian and Israeli officials have said.

Hundreds of protesters had been converging on the 21-story building housing the embassy throughout the afternoon and into the night, tearing down large sections of a security wall. For hours, Egyptian security forces made no attempt to intervene.

Just before midnight, a group of protesters reached a room on one of the embassy's lower floors at the top of the building and began dumping Hebrew-language documents from the windows, according to an Egyptian security official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

In Jerusalem, an Israeli official confirmed the embassy had been broken into, saying it appeared the group reached a waiting room on the lower floor. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to release the information.

Since the fall of President Hosni Mubarak, calls have grown in Egypt for ending the 1979 peace treaty with Israel, a pact that has never had the support of ordinary Egyptians. Anger increased last month after Israeli forces – responding to a cross-border attack – mistakenly killed five Egyptian police officers near the border.

Seven months after the popular uprising, Egyptians are still pressing for a list of changes, including more transparent trials of former regime figures accused of corruption and a clear timetable for parliamentary elections.

Egyptians have grown increasingly distrustful of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which took control of the country when Mubarak was forced out on 11 February after nearly three decades in power. The council, headed by Mubarak's defence minister, Muhammad Hussein Tantawi, has voiced its support for the revolution and those who called for democracy and justice.

But activists accuse it of remaining too close to Mubarak's regime and practicing similarly repressive policies, including abusing detainees. The trials of thousands of civilians in military courts has also angered activists.

Protesters marched to the Israeli embassy from Cairo's Tahrir square, where thousands more demonstrated against Egypt's ruling generals. Demonstrators in Cairo also converged on the state TV building, a central courthouse and the interior ministry, a hated symbol of abuses by police and security forces under Mubarak. Protesters covered one of the ministry's gates with graffiti and tore off parts of the large ministry seal.

Protests also took place in Alexandria, Suez and several other cities. Up to 90 people were injured, the health ministry said.

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