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Protesters storm the Israeli embassy

Protests have mushroomed since Israel’s killing of five Egyptian soldiers in mid-August, when Israeli security forces breached Egyptian territory in pursuit of Islamist militants allegedly responsible for a series of attacks on Israeli civilians in Eilat.

Popular anger at Israel’s actions and at its renewed bombardment of Gaza prompted mass demonstrations outside the Israeli embassy in Cairo, calling for the breaking of diplomatic relations and a review of Egypt’s 1979 peace treaty with Israel. The military regime was forced to threaten to withdraw Egypt’s ambassador from Tel Aviv.

On 23 August, 23-year-old demonstrator Ahmed Shahat earned international notoriety as the “Flagman” who scaled the embassy to take down its Israeli flag and replace it with an Egyptian one. A few weeks later the nearby Saudi embassy was also targeted, with protesters bring down one of its walls, forcing the evacuation of the Israeli ambassador and all his remaining staff.

The military regime has since declared a state of emergency to protest its relationship with the Zionist state. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also pledged that Israel would continue to observe its peace treaty with Egypt. Both regimes fear the breakdown of this bloody, reactionary pact, should matters escalate.

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