Protesters Climb Walls at U.S. Embassy in Cairo

Worrisome news from Egypt today: CNN is reporting that protesters climbed the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo  and hauled down the American flag, replacing it with a black standard with Islamic emblems, apparently in protest of the production of a film thought to insult the religion.

The incident prompted a volley of warning shots to be fired as a large crowd gathered outside, said CNN producer Mohammed Fahmy, who was on the scene. Some of the protesters expressed grievances about U.S. policy, chanting anti-American slogans and holding up bits of a shredded American flag to television camera crews in front of the embassy.

An embassy operator told CNN that the facility had been cleared of diplomatic personnel earlier Tuesday, ahead of the apparent threat, while Egyptian riot police were called to help secure the area.

The U.S. Embassy said in a statement Tuesday that it "condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims—as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions."

Mohamed Hegazy, the Egypt Tourist Authority’s tourism attache for the U.S. and Latin America, told Travel Agent that his office in New York did not yet have any exact reports about the incident: "We don't have the exact report about what really happened. Some officials are denying that anything happened at the Embassy. The Egyptian Foreign Affairs minister is assuring us that Egypt has a firm commitment to protect and secure all foreign embassies in [the country], and that they are working on security procedures. But so far, we don't have any official statements regarding if something happened inside the embassy."

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