Last updated: 16 May, 2011

Protest outside Israeli embassy in Cairo

Egyptian protesters demanding the expulsion of Israel’s ambassador clashed with riot police outside the Israeli embassy in Cairo on Sunday, leaving at least 24 people wounded.

The police, who were backed by the army, fired dozens of tear gas canisters at the protesters, who ripped out paving stones to throw and burned tyres.

At least 24 people were injured in the clashes, according to the health ministry, quoted by the official MENA news agency.

The clashes continued sporadically overnight, with some protesters telling a police officer trying to negotiate with them to leave that they would stay until the ambassador was expelled.

The protest was one of a series timed to coincide with the establishment of the Israeli state 63 years ago, in what is commonly referred to in Arabic as the “Nakba” or “catastrophe”.

“Ambassador Out!” the protesters chanted, denouncing Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and demanding the release of all Palestinian detainees.

Security officials blanketed the street with tear gas, sending protesters fleeing through the thick white smoke into nearby streets, before regrouping and pelting riot police surrounding the embassy building with stones.

Ambulances were seen carrying away those who fainted.

Protesters also set tyres on fire near the embassy, which is on the top floor of a building overlooking the Nile and protected by army and police officers, who barricaded the narrow street leading to the entrance.

Sunday’s protest, the third in as many days, came hours after senior Israeli defence ministry official Amos Gilad was in Cairo for talks with Egyptian officials, in the first visit by a top official from the Jewish state since a popular uprising toppled president Hosni Mubarak in February.