Egyptian court sentences 76 in Israeli embassy attack

An Egyptian court sentenced 76 citizens in last September’s attack on the Israeli Embassy in Cairo.

Seventy-four of the convicted protesters were given one-year suspended prison sentences on Sunday. One was sent to a juvenile detention center, while a former police officer who fled the country after criticizing the Mubarak regime was sentenced to five years in prison in absentia, the Egyptian daily Al Masry Al Youm reported.

More than 1,000 Egyptians demonstrated at the embassy Sept. 9, 2011, many after an Egyptian Facebook group called on protesters to gather at the embassy and “urinate on the wall.” During the demonstration, protesters tore down the Israeli flag from the high-rise building’s roof for the second time in a month.

Three people were killed and more than 1,000 injured in the riots.

The protesters broke down the 8-foot-high security wall surrounding the embassy compound and entered the building, requiring the evacuation of Israel’s ambassador to Egypt, embassy personnel, their families and Israelis staying at the embassy.

Six security employees stranded in the building were later removed by an Egyptian commando unit during a rescue operation.

The riots took place after six Egyptian security personnel were killed in August 2011 as Israel pursued the bombers of a civilian bus near Eilat.

Israeli diplomats return to Cairo embassy

Four Israeli diplomats and security personnel have returned to Israel’s embassy in Cairo after being evacuated amid violent protests.

The envoys—a consul, an adviser and the chief of security and his deputy, according to reports—returned to Cairo to a new building and will deal only with low-level issues in an effort to retain Israel’s diplomatic presence in Egypt, Ynet reported.

They left nearly two weeks ago after Egyptian demonstrators stormed Israel’s embassy in Cairo, necessitating the emergency rescue of its staff by Egyptian commandos.

Ambassador Yitzhak Levanon is not returning to Egypt at this time, Ynet reported.

The envoys’ return comes amid reports by the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram that the protesters were paid to attack the embassy.

Protesters questioned by Egyptian security reportedly said they were offered money to whip up the riots. The participants were bused to the area, then given dinner and envelopes containing money, according to the newspaper.