Egyptian protester holds documents from the Israeli embassy.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The storming of the Israeli Embassy in Cairo was a crime, Egypt’s information
minister said Sunday, charging Friday’s rioters with undermining the popular
revolution that toppled longtime president Hosni Mubarak seven months
“The incident was an insult to Egypt – it is not fair to link it to
the January revolution,” Osama Heikal said, according to Al-Masry Al-Youm
newspaper. “The January revolution had been a genuine, peaceful revolt that
sought to bring down and replace the old regime... The current events in Egypt
aim to destroy the country and induce chaos,” the paper quoted Heikal as telling
the satellite channel Al-Arabiya.
will do everything to bring you home’
Egypt says it will try those behind Israel mission
Timeline of Israel embassy attack in
Sameh Saif al-Yazal, an Egyptian
security expert, told the daily that the government’s celebration of the man who
tore down the embassy’s Israeli flag during protests last month suggested it
approves of his actions. The climber, Ahmed al-Shahat, was rewarded by the
governor of his home Sharqiyeh province with an apartment and a job.
Sunday, Egyptian authorities took additional precautions to ensure security at
“The security in front of the embassy has been enhanced,”
cabinet spokesman Mohamed Higazy told Reuters. “Returning back to normalcy is
the objective for both sides.”
About 16 trucks full of police and
security personnel, three buses of military police, two armored personnel
carriers and other vehicles were parked near Israel’s mission, located on the
upper floors of a tower block next to the Nile.
Traffic passed smoothly
through the adjoining junction that a day before had been strewn with bits of
concrete and debris.
Charred police vehicles were in a side street near
Egypt said it would try those behind the violence swiftly in
emergency state security courts, and has detained 111 people in connection with
Three people were killed and more than 1,000 injured in
clashes with security forces Friday night.
Many Egyptians sympathize with
the sentiments of those demonstrating against Israel, but activists, politicians
and ordinary citizens have also criticized the violence.
“I don’t want
[the ambassador] to come back because Israel doesn’t respect anyone, but if they
are in our country, then we should be able to protect them,” said Mohamed
Kamhawy, 28, an engineer working two blocks from the embassy site.
Amr, 23, another engineer, said: “Tearing down the wall was right. They
shouldn’t have built it in the first place. But invading the embassy was
Meanwhile, Egypt has begun the trial of former top officials
accused of sending men on horseback and camels charging into a crowd of
protesters on one of the most violent days of the uprising that ousted Mubarak
The assault by the horse and camel riders, who whipped the
crowd as they galloped into Tahrir Square on February 2, was one of the most
startling images of the 18-day uprising and helped galvanize protests among
Egyptians shocked by the violence.
Among the group of 25 people on trial
are Fathi Sorour, former speaker in the lower house of parliament, and Safwat
Sherif, former head of parliament’s upper house who was a longtime confidant of
Mubarak. Both denied charges against them.
After the first day of the
trial was shown on television, Judge Mustafa Hassan Abdullah said Sunday that
live broadcasts of future hearings would be banned, except for the session in
which the verdict would be pronounced.
Abdullah did not give a reason for
the decision, but it echoes a similar move by the judge overseeing the trial of
Mubarak himself, who is charged with conspiring to kill protesters. Two sessions
of Mubarak’s trial were broadcast before a ban was imposed.
the charges made against him, Sorour told the judge: “It did not happen and I
have no relation to this matter.
The accusation is false and these are
all pure fabrications.”
Sherif said: “I deny this completely.”
in all criminal cases, the defendants sat in a metal cage in court during the
Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, who heads Egypt’s ruling
army council, had been due to testify behind closed doors on Sunday at Mubarak’s
trial but postponed his appearance saying he with busy with security issues
after unrest over the weekend.
Tantawi’s testimony was to have been given
under a complete news blackout, which the judge said was for reasons of national
Reuters contributed to this report.