More than two thousand Egyptians gathered outside the Israeli embassy in Cairo Friday night to protest against the killing of five Egyptian soldiers in Israeli border attacks.
The protesters, who represented different colors of the Egyptian political spectrum urged the authorities to expel the Israeli ambassador and sever all ties with Israel as a response to the attacks. "The Egyptian blood is not cheap" chanted the protestors, and "Give us guns and send us to Sinai".
The cement barriers that blocks the way to the building where the embassy is located, were removed by the protesters, however the clashes erupted between the protesters and the military police surrounding the area was quickly contained.
A number of Israeli flags were burned and Egyptian flags, black Islamic flags and red flags were held along with pictures of nationalist leader and president Gamal Abdel Naser.
On Friday the Egyptian government lodged a formal protest with Israel over the killings of five members of its security forces during an Israeli border raid against Palestinians.
“Egypt ... demands an urgent investigation into the reasons and circumstances surrounding the deaths,” the army said in a statement after a meeting of the ruling military council.
However, the official response to the incident does not seem to satisfy the protesters.
"It is very strange that the army is busy discussing what should come first, the elections or the constitution, while our soldiers are being killed on the borders" says Ahmed Mahmoud. "What is happening today shows that nothing changed after the ouster of Mubarak."
Presidential candidates Amr Moussa and Hamdeen Sabbahi also denounced the loss of Egyptian lives: “Israel must realize that the day when Egypt’s sons are killed without an appropriate and strong reaction are over,” Moussa told Reuters.
Presidential hopeful Mohamed ElBaradei joined the chorus but declined to join other candidates calling for a strong military response. He called on the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to issue a report on what happened.
Former Muslim Brotherhood leader Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh called for the expulsion of Israel's ambassador.
"The Israeli enemy should be aware that Egyptian blood is the most precious thing we have, and that agreements and treaties are not worth the ink used to write them if the blood of citizens is shed," a statement on Abouel Fotouh's Web site said.
Israel said the assailants came from the Hamas-run Gaza Strip through Egypt’s Sinai region and it launched attacks in Gaza which killed several Palestinian fighters and others.
But Sinai governor Khaled Fouda dismissed Israeli government suggestions that Egypt’s new rulers were doing less to stop Palestinians: “We reject such statements and have increased security patrolling and checkpoints in Sinai,” he said.