Israel clears out old embassy in Cairo

Sources say move not political as Israel sends cargo planes to empty out contents of embassy ransacked in September.

March 22, 2012 02:36
1 minute read.
Protesters clash with riot police in Cairo

Protesters clash with riot police in Cairo Egypt 390 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany)

Israel on Wednesday sent two Hercules cargo planes to empty out the contents of the embassy in Cairo that was ransacked in September, but diplomatic sources said this was strictly a “logistical” measure with no political overtones.

The sources denied a Reuters report that the move was related to “deteriorating ties between the two states,” and said Israel simply wanted to remove the furniture and everything from offices that were no longer in use.

Egyptian mobs stormed the embassy in September, trapping six security guards inside who were rescued by Egyptian commandos after the US intervened. The ambassador at the time, Yitzhak Levanon, and all but a couple members of his staff were evacuated from Egypt.

Since then, Yaacov Amitai – the new envoy – and his skeletal staff have worked from smaller quarters in the city. They return to Israel on weekends.

No permanent facility for the embassy has yet been found.

The Reuters report hinted that the decision to empty the embassy had to do with a parliamentary committee issuing a statement last week during the violence in the South calling for the ambassador to be expelled.

But diplomatic sources gave a more prosaic reason: the country does not want to pay rent for offices it is no longer using.

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