Tens of Egyptian protesters call on Morsi to expel Israeli ambassador

Randa Ali , Tuesday 7 Aug 2012

Blaming Israel for the death of sixteen Egyptian soldiers on Sunday, demonstrators take to the residence of the Israeli ambassador to call on president Morsi to cut relations with Tel Aviv

Tens of protesters gathered by the Israeli ambassador’s house in the posh Maadi district on Monday night calling on the Egyptian government to cut off relations with Tel Aviv.

While the assailants behind the attack that took the lives of sixteen Egyptian soldiers and injured another seven remain unknown, some Egyptians have pointed the fingers at the Israeli state.

“It’s definitely Israel who is behind it; we demand the termination of any political relations with Israel,” said Ahmed El-Toni who referred to himself as an “independent activist” and was one of the protesters.

El-Toni also criticised the president for failing to take an action against the culprits in response to the attack till now.

Protests against Israel in Cairo are not a novel event.

Last August, thousands of Egyptians protested at the Israeli embassy in Cairo demanding the dismissal of  Tel Aviv's ambassador after five Egyptian soldiers were killed in an attack by Israelis near the two countries' joint border in Sinai.

On 9 September, tens of protesters raided one of the embassy’s offices in Cairo throwing thousands of the missions' documents in the air, while a man climbed all the way up to the building  to remove the Israeli flag to the cheers of hundreds of supporters on the ground.

The man was celebrated as a national hero and later referred to as “Flag Man.”

Those protests forced the Israeli mission in Cairo to close its doors and, till now, the Israeli embassy has failed to find itself another Headquarters.

Mohamed Bakhati, another protester who took part in both Monday’s demonstration and last September’s, told Ahram Online that escalation at the moment was not an option as the ambassador himself is not in Egypt.

"However, we’re giving a chance to president Morsi till after Ramadan; if retribution for those who died wasn’t reached we will go back to the streets.”

The Egyptian armed forces issued a statement on Monday in which they attributed the attacks to assailants who have reached Egyptian land through the Gaza tunnels.

Hamas, the ruling government of Gaza quickly denied any involvement in the attack on Egyptian soldiers, and further installed its security forces to monitor the Gaza-Egypt border.

Bakhati slammed all claims the assailants are Palestinians from the besieged Gaza Strip.

”Palestinians have an interest in keeping good relations with Egypt; no one is benefiting from this attack but Israel,” Bakhati said.

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