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Israel: Cairo embassy attack was assault on Israel-Egypt peace


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Israel: Cairo embassy attack was assault on Israel-Egypt peace

2011-09-12 04:15:55 GMT+7 (ICT)

JERUSALEM (BNO NEWS) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that the attack on Israel's embassy in Cairo over the weekend was an assault on "the axis of peace" with Egypt, Haaretz newspaper reported.

In an address to the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Netanyahu told ministers the importance of "maintaining Israeli representation in Cairo," adding that the fact that the embassy was attacked was significant in itself. Earlier on Friday, more than 2,000 protesters gathered in front of the embassy to dismantle a concrete wall which was set up by security forces around the premises.

The Israeli embassy in Cairo is "the axis of our peace," Netanyahu said. "It is an axis to which there are objectors, who are appealing not against policy, but against Israel."

The premier also said that Israel and Egypt are coordinating the return of Ambassador Yitzhak Levanon. Friday's clashes forced Levanon, his family and staff to flee Cairo in the middle of the night on a military flight.

Israel's Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor also on Sunday called the storming of the embassy an assault on 32 years of peaceful Israeli-Egyptian relations. The incident was not only a physical attack on a sovereign mission, but one "on the Israeli-Egyptian peace, and on the stability in the region," he said, according to Haaretz.

The Giza police station next to the Israeli embassy was set on fire along with several police vehicles on Friday night. Some protesters managed to break into one of the floors of the building housing the Israeli Embassy, seizing hundreds of documents and throwing many from the window of the 15-story building.

Some protesters also brought down, for the second time, the Israeli flag on the building, replacing it with the Egyptian flag. Netanyahu said that those who tore down the flag outside the building "oppose peace".

Three Egyptian civilians were killed and 1,049 were injured after fierce clashes between police forces and Egyptian protesters erupted, the Health Ministry said. Egypt's military police had arrested 111 protesters by Sunday, according to the Al-Ahram state-owned newspaper.

Early Saturday, Egyptian commandos were able to rescue six Israeli security guards, who had been held up inside a safe room for hours. Netanyahu praised the rescue operation, which came after he had asked U.S. President Barack Obama to intervene.

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-- © BNO News All rights reserved 2011-09-12

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