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Jordanian demo demands Israeli embassy closure

Sept. 15, 2011 9:48 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 16, 2011 10:10 P.M.)
AMMAN (AFP) -- Around 200 Jordanians demonstrated near the Israeli embassy in Amman on Thursday, demanding that the government expel the state's envoy and scrap the joint 1994 peace treaty.

"The people want to shut down the embassy. Amman must be liberated from the embassy and ambassador," the protesters chanted outside al-Kaluti mosque near the embassy, where 1,500 anti-riot policemen stood guard, a security source said.

"The people want the downfall of Wadi Araba (peace) treaty," read a banner carried by the demonstrators, including opposition Islamists, leftists and youth groups, who waved national and Palestinian flags.

Some set the Israeli flag ablaze while others tried to get closer to the embassy but were prevented from doing so by police.

Ambassador Danny Navon returned earlier to Israel with his staff ahead of the demonstration, Israeli public radio reported.

"The fact that the Israeli ambassador and his staff left the country is a victory for us," one demonstrator told AFP.

Earlier, a foreign ministry spokesman told AFP: "We have not been officially informed of anything."

Last weekend, a mob ransacked Israel's mission in Egypt and the ambassador and his staff were evacuated from the country. Six Israeli security guards were besieged in the embassy building for several hours before being rescued by Egyptian commandos.

Jordan and Egypt are the only two Arab states to have signed peace treaties with Israel.
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