A building housing Israel’s embassy in Cairo, the Egyptian capital, has been stormed by hundreds of protesters who tore down one of the outer embassy walls.
Protesters demolished the wall, erected to protect the embassy which has become a focus for protests, with makeshift battering rams and hammers on Friday after peaceful demonstrations in Tahrir Square earlier in the day against the country’s military rulers.
Some protesters then scaled the wall of the building, replacing the Israeli flag with Egyptian and Palestinian flags. Others got inside and threw thousands of pieces of paper from upper-floor windows.
Essam Sharaf, the Egyptian prime minister, called a crisis cabinet meeting for Saturday morning, while the interior ministry declared a state of alert.
Yitzhak Levanon, Israel’s ambassador to Egypt, and senior embassy staff were evacuated and flown home to Israel, Israel Radio said.
Hundreds of Egyptian soldiers backed by armoured cars were rushed to the embassy district and clashed with the protesters, who torched police vehicles and attacked regional police headquarters nearby.
Protesters played cat-and-mouse with police throughout the night, amid clouds of tear gas and smoke from burning tyres.
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