Egypt: Even Worse Than We Thought

We wrote on Friday about the shameful attack on the Israeli embassy in Cairo by Egyptian rioters, who tore down the fence that the authorities had erected to protect the embassy, ransacked the building and burned the Israeli flag (along with a number of vehicles that happened to be close at hand). It turns out that the incident was even more frightening than we had realized: not only did the Israeli ambassador and others have to flee the country, but the rioters came close to murdering the embassy’s guards, who were saved only by the intervention of Egyptian special forces:

The Israeli guards drew their handguns, convinced it was their final moments as they hid in a barricaded safe room from Egyptian rioters just outside the door, ransacking rooms of the embassy.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials depicted a tense stretch of hours as they watched on security cameras and listened in on conference calls with six Israeli embassy guards caught in the facility as protesters rioted on the streets outside—and broke in.

In the end, Egyptian commandos made their way in and rescued the six after flurried phone calls between Israeli, American and Egyptian officials to try to resolve the unrest. …

The Israeli ambassador, staffers and their families were forced to flee on military planes back to the Jewish state before dawn Saturday. Israel kept one diplomat in Cairo—albeit in hiding. …

Israeli television stations, citing Israeli officials, said the protesters eventually gained access to two floors of the three-floor embassy, as Netanyahu and other officials in Jerusalem watched the events on surveillance cameras. On one of the floors, the six Israeli embassy guards huddled behind the steel door of a safe room, drawing their handguns when they heard the protesters outside fearing they would break in. …

Several hours later, Egyptian commandos reached the Israeli guards, the aide said.

An Egyptian security official said the commandos were sent after the Israeli ambassador, Yitzhak Levanon, spoke by phone with a member of Egypt’s ruling military council and asked for help in evacuating the personnel.

So, is this the coming of spring, or the descent of the dark night of fascism?

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