Cairo: Protesters try to demolish wall at Israeli embassy

Witnesses say policemen, soldiers stand by as activists using hammers to chip away at mainly concrete wall erected after daily protests; Egyptian officials say wall intended to protect residents, not Israeli mission.

September 9, 2011 19:40
Protesters gather outside Israeli Embassy in Cairo

Protesters gather outside Israeli Embassy in Cairo 311. (photo credit: REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

Egyptian protesters on Friday began demolishing a wall built around a building housing the Israeli embassy in Cairo to protect it against demonstrators, witnesses said.

They said about a dozen people used hammers to chip away at the mainly concrete wall, which Egyptian authorities erected after daily protests last month sparked by tensions over the death of five Egyptian security personnel in Sinai which Cairo blamed on Israel.

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The witnesses said policemen and soldiers stood by as the activists hammered away at the roughly 2.5 meters (8-foot) high wall. Egyptian officials said the wall was intended to protect residents of the high-rise embassy building, not the Israeli mission.

The move against the embassy wall came as thousands of Egyptian activists demonstrated in central Cairo demanding faster reforms, ending military trials for civilians.

Egypt walled off Israel's embassy in Cairo earlier in the week after tensions between the two countries sparked a series of angry protests that reached a climax last month when a demonstrator scaled the building and removed the Israeli flag.

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