After Egyptians poured into the streets of Cairo outside the “Israeli” Embassy, and after an Egyptian young man succeeded in removing the “Israeli” flag from top of the embassy, the Zionist Ambassador to Egypt Yitzhak Levanon was transferred along with other diplomats to the occupied territories.
A special “Israeli” Air Force flight landed in Cairo and returned Levanon to the occupied territories along with some 80 “Israeli” diplomats and their family members, in addition to other “Israelis” staying in Cairo.
Egyptian protesters stormed the embassy on Friday, destroying a part of a barricade wall around the building in the process.
Egyptian police used tear gas to disperse the crowd
One person died due to asphyxiation after inhaling tear gas, and about 450 demonstrators were injured, medical personnel said.
The AFP news agency reported that Egyptian commandos had entered the embassy building as it was attacked by protesters to ensure protection to six Israelis.
US President Barack Obama earlier called on Egypt to “honour its international obligations” to protect the diplomats and told Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, that Washington was taking steps to resolve the situation.
Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, also spoke with Mohamed Kamel Amr, the Egyptian foreign minister, who cut short a trip to Poland as Essam Sharaf, the Egyptian prime minister, called a crisis cabinet meeting.
An Israeli government official who wanted to remain anonymous said to the press that Israel was grateful to Obama and Egyptian government for helping to resolve the situation.
But it said the incident was a blow to Israeli-Egyptian relations and a “serious violation of accepted diplomatic behavior”.
“This could have been a real tragedy, We are thankful to all who helped resolve this matter. Over the last few hours there was a real concern for the lives of our people,” said the government official.
Pulling its diplomats even temporarily out of Egypt would represent another regional setback for Israel which has already seen relations with Turkey, another erstwhile regional ally, turn sour amid Turkish anger over last year’s deadly raid by Israeli commandos on a Gaza-bound flotilla .
The Israeli embassy has been a focus for protests in Cairo amid a downturn in relations since Hosni Mubarak, the former Egyptian president, was ousted from power in February.