Israel faces worst crisis with Egypt for 30 years as diplomats flee

Attack on embassy is latest storm to engulf Jewish state as relations with Turkey also deteriorate

Harriet Sherwood
Guardian [UK]
10 September 2011

Israel is facing its worst crisis with Egypt for 30 years after being forced to airlift diplomats and their families to safety during the storming of its embassy in Cairo by a violent mob.

The siege of the embassy ended, with the 86 Israelis fleeing, only after intervention from the White House following phone calls between the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and US President Barack Obama.

The attack was the latest diplomatic storm to engulf the Jewish state, whose relations with another ally, Turkey, have worsened over the past nine days. Israel is also facing a “diplomatic tsunami” at the UN later this month when a majority of countries are expected to back recognition of a Palestinian state. [emphasis CAJ]

The embassy attack, in which a security wall was demolished and a group of protesters reached the door of the embassy’s secure area, threatened to cause “serious damage in peaceful relations between our two countries”, the prime minister said.

He added that it was a “grave violation of accepted diplomatic practice”.

He spent the night with senior officials in a foreign ministry operation room dealing with the crisis. Eighty diplomats and their families were airlifted on an Israeli military plane at 4.40am, but six personnel were trapped inside the building.

“There was one door separating them from the mob,” said the official, who described the night as “very dramatic and tense”. Eventually the six were rescued by Egyptian commandos following behind-the-scenes intervention by the US…

The article continues at The Guardian.

Also, Netanyahu aide: Israel, Egypt to preserve peace deal  

At Jihad Watch: Israeli ambassador and senior staff leave Egypt after embassy attack; rescue of guards behind “last door” after telephoned appeals by Obama administration and Netanyahu

A clearer picture is beginning to emerge of how ugly the situation became in the embassy building. An update on this story. “PM: I am glad we avoided danger in embassy attack,” from the Jerusalem Post, September 10:

Prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu responded on Saturday to the previous night’s attack on Israel’s embassy in Cairo, saying that the situation could have been much more severe if the protesters had succeeded in breaking through the last door and reaching the Israeli security guards hiding within.Given the chance, they will try again, and try to go further…

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