70 injured in clashes in front of US embassy in Egypt (Lead)

September 13th, 2012 - 10:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Cairo, Sep 13 (IANS) At least 70 people were injured Thursday in clashes in front of the US embassy in the Egyptian capital, the health ministry said.

Among the injured were 24 security personnel, including six officers and 18 soldiers, Xinhua reported.

The Egyptian Ambulance Authority said most injuries were treated at the spot, but seven protesters were taken to hospital.

Over the recent days, a US movie that allegedly insults Prophet Mohammed has ignited violent protests across the Arab world.

Xinhua quoted a statement issued by the US embassy as saying that President Barack Obama “rejects attempts to disdain Islam”, while “affirming there is no justification for violence against innocents or acts threatening the American individuals and their buildings”.

Obama called Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi over the phone to review the strategic partnership between Egypt and the US as well as ongoing efforts to strengthen economic and security cooperation, the official MENA news agency reported.

Morsi expressed condolences for the American victims in Libya, and said Egypt would “guarantee the safety of the American missions on its lands”.

At a news conference in Brussels during his first European trip, Morsi also vowed to protect foreigners in Egypt.

He said he supported peaceful protests but not attacks on embassies.

Egypt’s Interior Minister Ahmed Gamaleddin, who inspected the area around the US embassy in Cairo, urged policemen to be more self-restraining when dealing with the protesters.

MENA quoted a security source as saying that 23 violent protesters were arrested.

The US embassy announced Thursday the closure of the visa department. All appointments with regard to visa services were cancelled. Just a few employees remain in the embassy to finish some urgent work, Xinhua said.

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