PM: I am glad we avoided danger in embassy attack

Netanyahu grateful for US, Egyptian help in rescuing Israeli guards; Livni, Mofaz: we need to preserve peace with Egypt.

September 10, 2011 13:21
1 minute read.
Protesters gather outside Israeli Embassy in Cairo

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


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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu responded on Saturday to the previous night's attack on Israel's embassy in Cairo, saying that the situation could have been much more severe if the protesters had succeeded in breaking through the last door and reaching the Israeli security guards hiding within.

"I am glad that we succeeded in avoiding danger," he said.

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Israel evacuates ambassador in Cairo following attack

Netanyahu thanked US President Barack Obama and the Egyptian forces for their help in extracting the security guards from the embassy during what he termed a "blatant violation of international norms."

"Egypt cannot ignore this hard hit to peace with Israel," the prime minister warned.

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni said in a statement that "the break-in into the Israeli embassy in Cairo was a very serious event in Egyptian-Israeli relations."

"Peace between Israel and Egypt is of strategic interest to both states and we need to preserve it," she added.

Chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Shaul Mofaz also responded to the attack, saying that Israeli and Egyptian leadership must work to preserve and strengthen the peace agreement between the two countries.

The storming of the embassy is the new "painful and evil" definition of Israeli-Egyptian relations for the future, Mofaz added.

Israel's ambassador to Egypt and senior staff were evacuated on Saturday following the mass demonstration in which hundreds of Egyptians stormed the building housing Israel's mission and threw embassy documents and its national flag from windows.

Netanyahu spoke by phone with guards at the Israeli embassy as they were besieged by the mob, reassuring them they would be rescued, aides said.

After telephoned appeals by Netanyahu to Cairo's interim military rulers and the Obama administration, Egyptian security forces extracted the guards before dawn. Another Netanyahu aide said the Israelis' heads were covered to throw off the crowds.

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