Egypt - AP - September 9, 2011
Egyptian military and policemen stand alert as hundreds of Egyptian activists demolish a concrete wall built around a building housing the Israeli embassy in Cairo, September 9, 2011. Photo by AP
Text size
related tags

Egypt raised its national alertness level following a severe nighttime incident late Friday, as thousands of Egyptian protesters attacked the Israeli embassy in Cairo, resulting in the evacuation of dozens of Israeli diplomats.

Late Friday, Egyptian commandos released six besieged security guards from the Israeli Embassy, while an Israeli Air Force plane evacuated over 80 diplomats, including family members from Cairo, after a mass group of Egyptian protesters broke into the embassy.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman decided to go forth with the evacuation after it became clear that Egyptian security forces had lost control of a protest that began outside the Israeli Embassy, and quickly escalated into a breach of the embassy’s security system.

After breaking in, the protesters dumped hundreds of documents out of the windows after a day of demonstrations outside the building in which crowds swinging sledge hammers and using their bare hands tore apart the embassy's security wall.

On Saturday, Egypt's ruling military announced it was raising the country's alertness level in the wake of Friday's incident.

A governmental source said that Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf was holding an emergency meeting with several cabinet members as well as members of Egypt's ruling military council to discuss the night's events.

Egypt's military rulers rejected on Saturday the resignation of the country's government , broadcaster Al Arabiya reported.The resignation was presented by Prime Minister Essam Sharaf at a meeting with the ruling military council, according to the television report.

Friday night's events also reportedly brought on the unexpected return of Egyptian Foreign Minister Kamel to the country from his European visit.

Earlier Saturday, Egypt said its security forces had been able to disperse the crowd outside the Israeli embassy; medical sources indicated that 3 people had been killed in the rally, with over 1,000 wounded, most of whom as a result of inhaling tear gas.