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Egyptian Protestors Tear Down U.S. Flag in Cairo

Protesters destroy an American flag
AP Photo/Mohammed Abu Zaid

The U.S. embassy in Cairo was ravaged by Egyptian demonstrators who tore down the American flag and replaced it with an Islamic flag. Nearly 3,000 protestors, most of them hardline Islamist supporters of the Salafist movement, gathered at the embassy in protest over a film deemed offensive to the Prophet Mohammed, a film produced by expatriate members of Egypt's Christian minority. A dozen men scaled the embassy walls and one of them tore down the U.S. flag, replacing it with a black one inscribed with the Muslim profession of faith: "There is no God but God and Mohammed is the prophet of God."

When asked whether the flag hoisted was that of the Al-Qaeda movement, a U.S. State Department official said she thought not. "We had some people breach the wall, take the flag down and replace it. What I heard was that it was replaced with a plain black flag. But I maybe not be correct in that," she said, when asked whether it was the emblem of the jihadists that had been raised. Egyptian police intervened without resorting to force and persuaded the trespassers to come down. The crowd then largely dispersed leaving just a few hundred protesters outside the U.S. mission.

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