Minister: Attack on Israeli Embassy was a crime

The storming of the Israeli Embassy in Cairo was a criminal action and had nothing to do with the 25 January revolution, Egypt's Information Minister Osama Heikal has said.

"The incident was an insult to Egypt – it is not fair to link it to the January revolution," the minister said in an interview with satellite channel Al-Arabiya, which will be aired on Sunday night.

Protesters demonstrated outside the Israeli Embassy late on Friday, and engaged in clashes with security forces positioned at the nearby Saudi Embassy and the Giza Security Directorate. The violence left three dead and several hundred injured.

Protesters pulled down large parts of a wall erected by the Egyptian authorities to protect the Israeli Embassy's building.

"The January revolution had been a genuine, peaceful revolt that sought to bring down and replace the old regime," Heikal added. "The current events in Egypt aim to destroy the country and induce chaos."

He said that the recent developments have to be handled according to the law regardless of the identity of the perpetrators.

The Israeli Embassy also saw protests in late August over the killing of six Egyptian security agents in an Israeli border raid on 18 August. Israel said it mistook the officers for border infiltrators, but did not offer an official apology.

The killings sparked a public uproar in Egypt and demands to cancel the peace treaty with signed with Israel in 1979.

Some observers have blamed the attack on the embassy on the Egyptian government.

Security expert Sameh Saif al-Yazal said the government’s celebration of Ahmed al-Shahat, the young man who tore down the Israeli flag from the embassy during the August protests, suggested that it approved of his action. The governor of Sharqiya rewarded Shahat with an apartment and a job.

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