Egypt Announces Emergency Measures Following Embassy Attack

Posted September 10th, 2011 at 11:40 am (UTC-5)
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Egypt has announced emergency measures to restore order following a mob attack on the Israeli embassy in Cairo.

Information Minister Osama Hassan Heikal said Saturday that legal measures were being taken to transfer suspects detained for Friday's violence to an emergency state security court. Earlier, the state-run MENA news agency said military police had arrested 19 people for their alleged roles in the attack.

On Friday, protesters tore down sections of a security wall and tossed embassy documents outside after they raided the building. Egypt said at least three people were killed and more than 1,000 wounded in overnight clashes between protesters and police.

Security forces remained on high alert on Saturday after protesters made a second attempt to break into the building.

Diplomatic relations have been tense between the two countries since Israeli forces mistakenly killed five Egyptian police officers last month near the border while responding to a cross-border militant attack.

Public anger over that event has escalated in Egypt. Calls also have been growing in Egypt to end its historic 1979 peace treaty with Israel since the ouster of former leader Hosni Mubarak.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office says he will make a statement about the incident late Saturday. Earlier, he called the mob attack a blatant “violation of international norms.” However, Israel thanked the Egyptian government for its help in quelling the unrest.

The embassy assault prompted Israeli Ambassador Yitzhak Levanon, his family and 80 staff members to hastily leave the country and return to Israel. Israeli officials said Egyptian commandos helped evacuate six other Israelis who were trapped in the building.

The Israeli government said it has left its deputy ambassador in Egypt to keep up diplomatic contact.