Egyptian parliament protests special security for U.S.

Monday, December 22, 2003

CAIRO Egyptian parliamentarians are again pressing the regime of President Hosni Mubarak to end special security measures to protect the U.S. embassy in Cairo.

Parliamentarians said the measures imposed by the Interior Ministry have severed the Garden City district from the rest of Cairo, Middle East Newsline reported. The district houses the U.S. embassy and authorities have blocked several streets from vehicular and at times pedestrian traffic.

This was the second request by Egyptian parliamentarians in 2003. A similar request was relayed in April in wake of the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

Egypt has also deployed troops around Japanese companies, media and other institutions in Cairo. The Interior Ministry responded to a request in October by the Japanese embassy. The embassy expressed concern that Japanese interests were being targeted by Islamic insurgents.

Egyptian security sources said the United States has asked the Mubarak regime to bolster measures around the U.S. embassy in Cairo and the consulate in Alexandria. The sources said the United States has been concerned of the prospect of Arab or Islamic attacks on U.S. interests in Egypt and other countries in the Middle East in wake of the capture of Iraq's Saddam Hussein.

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