BEIRUT

Middle East

Israel says clearing out ravaged Cairo embassy

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Movers on Wednesday were clearing out the remaining contents from Israel's former embassy in Cairo, ransacked by protesters last September, the Israeli foreign ministry told AFP.

"They are removing the contents of the old embassy building," spokesman Yigal Palmor said. "Everything was coordinated and arranged with the Egyptian authorities."

He said that the material would be flown back to Israel by cargo aircraft.

Protesters attacked the Israeli embassy headquarters in a residential building in central Cairo on September 9, forcing the evacuation of all embassy staff.

Crowds smashed through an external security wall, tossed embassy papers from balconies and tore down the Israeli flag.

It was the worst incident since Israel set up its mission in Egypt, the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with the Jewish state in 1979.

It came at a time of worsening relations between the neighbors following the killing of six Egyptian policemen on their common border as Israel hunted militants after a deadly attack in August.

Israeli ambassador Yitzhak Levanon returned to Cairo in November and completed his term there. He was replaced in February by Yaacov Amitai and in the meantime, the Israeli mission moved to new premises.

"The embassy is functioning. The ambassador is there, the staff are there, but not in the old building of course," Palmor said. "It was understood that we would not return there."

 

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