egyptian protesters israeli embassy_311.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany)
Egypt has walled off Israel's embassy in Cairo 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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work began on the wall a few days ago, many Egyptians gathered nearby to show
their displeasure. Some sprayed "The people want the fall of the wall" onto its
Egyptian officials said the mainly concrete barrier,
roughly 2 1/2 metres (8 feet) high, was to protect other residents of the
high-rise embassy building, not the Israeli mission.
"The goal ... is to
protect the lower floors of the building and prevent tensions between protesters
and residents," daily newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm
quoted local governor Ali
Abdel-Rahman as saying.
Egypt's relations with Israel have cooled since
the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak, a staunch US ally, in a popular
uprising in February.
A diplomatic row broke out last month when five
Egyptian security personnel were shot dead on the border as IDF troops
repelled terrorists who killed eight Israelis
Egypt threatened briefly to
withdraw its ambassador from Tel Aviv, said the deaths of the Egyptians breached
its 1979 peace treaty with the Jewish state and demanded a joint
That was not enough for some Egyptians.
protested angrily for days
outside the embassy to demand a sterner response from
their government, in scenes that would never have been allowed during the
Mubarak era when political demonstrations were usually crushed by riot
The protester who clambered up the high-rise embassy building was
rewarded by an Egyptian provincial governor
with a job, a new home and a
commemorative shield, newspapers reported.
The governor for Giza, where
the embassy sits close to the banks of the Nile, denied the wall was designed to
protect the embassy, a claim met with disbelief by some observers.
obvious that the reason behind building the wall is to prevent protesters in the
future from reaching the embassy and to protect it," said political analyst
"Why would we protect a state that is killing our
people? This is wrong, unfair and irritating," one man told Egyptian radio
during a night live program on Sunday evening.