Egyptian activists breach Israeli embassy security

Demonstrators taking some direct action to gain access to the Israeli embassy

UPDATE: 13.36 GMT – reports coming in that a second wave of protestor are en route to thte embassy right now. Ive also added a really insightful and on the ball post from http://www.arabist.net

—–

Thousands of Egyptians came out to demonstrate outside the Israeli embassy in Cairo last night and breached some of the external security wall. In an initial breech, protestors tore down the wall, an made their way into the embassy retrieving some confidental documents. Israel has evacuated several of its staff including the ambassador, leaving its deputy ambassador to “maintain diplomatic ties”.

This video was posted by Ghazala Irshad an Egyptian journalist and blogger you can follow at @ghazalairshad

This footage shows the police crackdown on the movements

It has been reported that three people have died and many more injured as people clashed with the police any army who tried to repel the protestors. In an already tense situtation between Revolutionary Youth Coalition and the SCAF – the supposedly temporary but intensely counter revolutionary ruling council of the Egyptian army, its likely to see further escalation and increased use of military trials of ordinary Egyptians.

Egyptian police stood aside as activists tore down the concrete wall to the cheers of hundreds of demonstrators.

“It is great that Egyptians say they will do something and actually do it,” Egyptian film director and activist Khaled Youssef said, standing among the protesters outside the embassy.

“They said they will demolish the wall and they did … the military council has to abide by the demands of the Egyptian people,” he said, according to Reuters.

Tensions have been high between the Israeli State and the revolutionary movements. Mubarak was a close ally of Israeli and an essential part in maintaining the enclosure policy that makes up Israel’s on blockade and policy of collective punishment.  Some of the reaction for across Egytpian Twitter users are educational themselves in highlightly the tensions between conservative/liberal Egyptians and activists who are pushing for the realisation of the demands of those instrumental in bringing down the regime

@mahmoudellozy a playwright and teacher tweets –

“I constantly get bullied by fascist liberals to accept the “other” point of view. You cocksucking bastards! I am the “other” point of view …According to Egyptian Liberals this is how a revolution should go: we organize a tuxedo and evening gown event at the Four Seasons and over cocktails and hors-d’oeuvres we agree to develop new and more devious ways of robbing the poor in the name of the revolution. Egyptian liberals and business people weeping all over Twitter over their Zionist masters. I’m happy!!” Unsurprisingly these sentiments have a lot of support

Israel has evacuated several of its staff including the ambassador, leaving its deputy ambassador. Last month the Israeli army killed 5 Egyptian policemen in an operation that has caused growing public anger.

Ive reposted in full below a really good analysis from The Arabist blog

I don’t have much time but can’t resist a quick comment on the attack on the Israeli embassy last night, which is already the subject of much Twitter debate.

First, what happened: yesterday there were multiple protests in Cairo, starting with one of several tens of thousands who called for an end to military tribunals, greater judicial independence, a better electoral law and other measures. The protest also was against Israel, for the recent killing of six Egyptian border guards. Some of these protestors went to the Israeli embassy, and this ended with a confrontation with police and military and, for the first time in the history of protests against the Israeli embassy, a break-in in what was probably the non-secure portion of its offices.

A few points:

  • The construction of a wall outside the embassy was almost a provocation to people to come and bring it down. The symbolism of a wall was not lost on any one and merely angered people.
  • The Turkish decision to downscale relations with Israel also caused a surge in national sentiment.
  • The SCAF’s handling of the border shootings leaves much to be desired, notably because of inconsistent statements.
  • Israel’s failure to make a clear, unambiguous apology for the shootings was really stupid but typically arrogant — another sign that Israel is slow to adapt to the new regional mood. But Egyptian anger is understandable: imagine if Mexico killed US border guards.
  • The attack on the embassy took place in a general atmosphere of distrust of the SCAF in its handling of both domestic and foreign affairs, mounting anxiety about Egypt’s transition, and incompetent and unclear leadership. I sincerely doubt it would have taken place if Nabil al-Arabi was still foreign minister.
  • There are important details about the attack: it took place a few days after clashes between football fans and the police, leading to many of these Ultras both angry at the authorities and afraid that they might be arrested. The Ultras’ role in penetrating the embassy was probably crucial, because they are determined and fearless (and it’s important to note that in previous protests there was more restraint; it probably would have ended up with just the wall being torn down, which would have been quite satisfying in itself.)
  • The SCAF’s failure to prevent the intrusion into the embassy proper is flabbergasting.

I don’t think I need to restate my dislike of Israel and my belief that it is largely responsible for the hostility against it in Egypt and the region, nor the looming end of the Camp David framework to Egyptian-Israeli relations. That should be clear to anyone who has read this blog. But it remains the case that the attack of an embassy is a grave violations of diplomatic norms, an worrying for other embassies in Cairo (remember the Danish cartoons crisis anyone?)

The act of entering the embassy was not just illegal (in terms of domestic and international law), it was mindless and showed a poor sense of strategy and priority. It will hurt the credibility of the protest movement at home and abroad, reinforce fears of a country getting out of control domestically, and distract from the more important issue of Egypt’s still uncertain democratic transition. And it will not achieve, beyond the fleeing of most Israeli officials in Egypt for now, much to change the nature of the Egyptian-Israeli relationship. Even with only one senior embassy official remaining, the strategic relations are now taking place chiefly military to military through liaison offices that operate far away from where the embassy is located. This action does nothing to change Egyptian policy, and certainly nothing to help Palestinians, like fully ending the blockade of Gaza would.

But what’s worse about the incident is that it shows how the revolution’s positive energy — the desire for better governance, greater democracy and a more dignified foreign policy — is being dissipated.

Advertisements

Inside Egypt: Nazly Hussein speaks from outside the military court about the military’s detention and torture

Army at the military court today

"Military police facing us" #Jan25 posted by @monasosh

Nazly Hussein speaks from outside the military courts which this afternoon (Friday 12th March) was supposed to address the people the army harrassed and arrested last Wednesday during a brutal attack on those occupying Tahrir Square. Nazly describes how several hundred plain clothes thugs was deployed against people in the square on Wednesday, who set about pulling down tents and beating people up. The army, under the pretence of ‘protecting’ those remaining in the Tahrir then began beating, arresting and electrocuting people within the the pro democracy movement. Over 170 people where arrested, most of whom where later released without charge. Many had been beaten and tortured with electrocution.

As people remaining in Tahrir Square demand the complete dismantlement of the security apparatus that played such a strong role in supporting Mubarak’s rule, the military has begun to charge people via a military court, with little or no legal support or mechanisms for defendants. The military is acting without the slightest concern for basic human rights, and it seems obvious that these are the actions of a regime that feels the need to demonise, criminalise and isolate the pro democracy activists at the center of Egypts popular revolution.  Some people are openly talking about a strategic counterrevolution

Despite the resignation of Mubarak, it is clear that the State security apparatus is able to act with impunity against the population. There has been clear video evidence of army brutality against those demanding the end of the militarys grip upon wider society.  This linked video show the injuries of  Ramy Essam, a singer who has been in Tahrir square for some time. So obvious was the beatings that the army announced an apology for its violence and announce all would be released without charge.

However at the time of writing there are man still 190 people being detained. Amr al-Beheiry was beaten by the army as they smashed up the peaceful sit-in in front of the People People’s Assembly during the early hours of 26 February, they then hauled him in front of an illegitimate military court, without access to any legal support. He was “sentenced” to 5 years in prison. During the ‘trial’ Amr showed clear sign of having been heavily beaten. Many humans right organisations, including Anmesty International support the peoples call for his immediate release

Nazly reminds us that the demands of people have not yet been meet, and that all Egyptians and indeed those of us who are in solidarity with the demands of the movement need to watch closely the actions of the army to ensure that, rather than a cosmetic face change at the head of a regime it is the people themselves who decide the future of their society

Please share the full interview found here

Breaking: Libyan Gov. Jets airborne and landed in Egypt and Brussels

UPDATE 18.10 UPDATE: Libyan Government 5A-UAC, the Bombardier BD-700, went to Paris Le Bourget Airport LFPB, next Brussels Zaventem EBBR. The Government 5A-UAA Bombardier Challenger 300 was confirmed at Paris Le Bourget Airport LFPB

5A-UAA Bombardier is  logged for Brussels (and may be en route)

Update 14.35 GMT Karl Stango-Navarra, a journalist based in Valletta, Malta, told Al Jazeera that the two other planes were being monitored by NATO and that one had been spotted in Swiss airspace and one over Italy.The plane landing in Cairo crossed into Greek airspace en route to Egypt and a Greek air force source said the plane was a Libyan Airlines Falcon 900 that normally carries VIP. Al Jazeera reported the private jet landed on a military airstrip around 1pm, carrying al-Zawi and an official. “As soon as the plane landed, those on board … were immediately whisked away by private cars.” Essam Sharaf, the Egyptian prime minister, had cut a cabinet meeting short to go to a meeting with the military council.

The Arab league is due to meet on Saturday to discuss the possibility of imposing a no-fly zone over Libya. Libyan delegates have been barred from attending the League’s meetings addressing the situation in the country.

UPDATE 13.05 GMT   @ShababLibya tweets “These planes are owned by the Afriqiyah holding company in Libya, and used by the Gaddafi inner circle and family regularly” A press release from Interpol from last week sanctioning the arrest og Gaddafi and others in the Libyan regime can be found here

——-

There is breaking news that 3 Libyan government jets have leftLibyan airspace and are currently en route to various locations, though these have not been pinpointed exactly yet


These include 3  airplanes  registered as 5A-DCN, 5A-UAA and 5A-UAC . They are  thought to be heading for Cairo (or some where in Egypt) , Athens and Vienna. info via tweets by @fmcnl and @exiledsurfer

Al Jazeera arereporting that Hussein Sulieman on is on. This has been corrected and  AP are reporting and confirmed that  Abdul-Rahman bin Ali al-Saiid al-Zawi, a Libyan official is onboard with a message for the Egyptains.  He is head of Libya’s logistics and supply authority.  As of yet it is unclear it is unclear wether this landing is simply a refuelling for futher leg of a journey to destination unknown.  2 other planes have been logged by civilian plane watchers, but we have no confirmation of any landing yet

3arabawy just tweeted “for some reason i c police and central security forces (!) together with military police im Abdeen”

Libyan Government 5A-UAA is a CL-300 / Bombardier BD-100-1A10 Challenger 300 heading to Vienna.

Update as they come in.

Breaking in #Alexandria : People Storm State Security HQ

UPDATE 1 20.48 GMT : There are unconfirmed, but several reports of people shot, some seriously.

UPDATE 2 21:18 GMT Images of papers shred inside the State Security HQ. No update on injuries reported in update 1 above and reinforcements from the army have arrived.

UPDATE 3 21.55 GMT General Refaat AbdelHamid, ONTV: Protesters in #Alexandria are very civil and trying to protect papers from being burnt in the State Security HQ

In yet another chapter in the ongoing social revolution  within Egypt, this evening people surrounded the State Security Police headquarters in in Alexandria. The State Security Police force are a much despised element of the police force within the Mubarak regime. At the time of writing the situation is still a little unclear though it seems that people surrounded the building and stormed its it with vocal demands to close it down

State Security Police have acted with impunity over decades and is seems natural that their HQ in Alexandria would become a focus point of the anger of population.  Khaled Said was one of many Egyptian’s who where killed by this ‘security force’.  His murder at the hands of the police was a significant rallying point for many who then said that enough was enough. People have been calling for disbandment of the State Security apparatus given its role within society as an arbitrary dispenser of violence, brutality and daily indignity.

Earlier tonight people congregated outside the HQ

From the information available at the moment mostly received by tweets from people on the ground there, and is breaking it is still unclear what the exactly has happened.

However, it seems that the spontaneous demonstration by the few hundred of the local population outside the state security police headquarters turn turned into clashes between the people and the police some photos below were posted in the context of people disarming the police and removing equipment such as riot shields, helmets and possibly armaments. It is also reported that shots were fired from inside the state security police force HQ and that there has been at least one injury due to gunfire.

The army then arrived at the scene of clashes. There are also reports that Molotov cocktails, or petrol bombs as they are more commonly known in Ireland, were thrown from top of the building by State Security Police  and at least three cars having burnt out as a result.  Several people commented on hearing loud explosions. However, it is likely that these were the result of burning cars as as there have been no further reports of injuries from the explosions. They have be ‘rumours’ tweeted that their are snipers on the building roofs

The state security forces HQ is currently on fire and the army reported to be are evacuating the building.  However it also seems that many people are inside trying to remove as much paperwork as possible. Eyewitness tweets report that people have been seen leaving the HQ with papers. Its likely that the HQ itself was a depository of information and records that may contain evidence of the brutal actions of the police. Large amount of teargas have been fired by State Security and it is unclear if there are clashes between the police and army. There are conflicting reports stating that the clashes are continuing and that the State Security Police have surrender to the people and the army. Its seems that the army retreated from the situation for a period them returned.

Photos via http://www.yfrog.com/froggy.php?username=Abalkhair

Fresh Footage from Jan25 #Day of Rage

These are some new footage taken by political activist  Gigi Ibrahim

It is from friday 25th Jan, the Day of Rage where police violence was reaching its peak. A whole day of brutal confrontations between peaceful protesters and police forces using tear gas and rubber bullets.  In this video, the protesters had taken control of Galaa bridge (the first battle), and heading to Qasr El Nile bridge, following a bloody battle with the police. The officers escaped and left the conscripts behind. Some revolutionaries volunteered to form human chains around the CSF trucks, to protect the conscripts from the wrath of the protesters.

In this video, the protesters had taken control of Qasr El Nile Bridge and attempting to reach Tahrir square.

In these videos, the protesters were heading to Galaa bridge and agains getting bombed with tear gas non-stop by state security forces while protesters chanting “peaceful, peaceful.” There is almost an incessant sound of tear gas grenades being fired

Inside Egypt : An Interview with Mohamed Abdelfattah, Alexandria.

This is the first of a series of interviews with Egyptians speaking directly of their experiences within the revolution and ongoing struggles. I hope to cover some themes not covered by the traditonal/mainstream press, and allow space for Eygptians themselves to talk about aspects of the recent uprising they feel is important. The bias toward experiential knowledge is a conscious choice, simply because it is often the most neglected form of knowledge in political story telling. Ordinary voices are held as a poor sibling to powerful deterministic political forces and quickly subsumed into an unbending tide of formal history. which cannot speak to the lived experience of people themselves as agents of change and shapers of their own destiny.

On Thursday I interviewed Mohamed Abdelfattah, a freelance journalist and soon to graduate student from Alexandria, as he prepared to travel to Cairo to take part in yesterdays (Fridays) “Day of Cleaning”, a day of nationwide protest calling for the end of all authoritarian rule and institutions that continue today after Mubarak’s resignation.

One month after the Day of Rage, Mohamed speaks about the realtionships between the army, police and people, and how this revolution was leaderless in a real sense,  something that the army and old guard was both unable to deal with and now tries to manipulate. We talk about the economic and social demands that lie at the heart of call for absolute and lasting political transformation, and about how many workers are now taking back their trade unions. We look at the role of US hegemony and how the movements are not just looking for liberty from a de facto dictators regime but also independence from the decades of post colonial meddling across the region. We also look what impact social media and internet tools has had for both informing and encouraging popular participation.

A technical glitch meant I missed the first minute or so, Mohamed begins by talking about the situation in Alexandria one month after the revolution began.

I welcome comments and suggestions for future interviews in terms of areas that people feel they woul like to learn more about, and from within the revolution in Egypt.
If you click the second bold link below a pop up player will begin the interview. Ive tried and failed to get a player to embed the audio on the page.

From Tahrir Square one voice speaks to all of us

Written this morning by Egyptian political activist and blogger @sandmonkey. Shortly after posting this, he was arrested, detained  and beaten for hours by Egyptian police. He was on his way back to Tahrir ( trans. Liberation) Square with food and medical supplies for those remaining there after wednesday nights gun, stone and molotov attacks. His blog at http://www.sandmonkey.org has been hacked and suspended. I’m sharing this so that the grassroots narrative of the youth movement which precipitated the popular uprising doesn’t get lost in either the impending military crackdown, or the larger geo-political wrangles. This struggle, like all genuine social movements, is rooted in the lives of thousands of ordinary people, and it is these voices made audible- ideas made conversation – that creates our own histories from below. But people such as @sandmonkey are not  just writing and speaking after the events of others, but are acting as they describe, walking as they explain and fighting as they implore.   For all of us with a desire for a world free of oppression, and one where we can decide for ourselves how to run our societies, these are the words of a brother/sister, a comrade, a friend, a revolutionary and one more ordinary person doing extraodinary things for the benefit ofthemselves and fellow human beings. In our own society where cynicism and powerlessness reward each other lovingly with ritualised, socialised acceptable pessimism and dogma what follows should and will resonate much futher than Tahrir Square for years to come.

————–

I don’t know how to start writing this. I have been battling fatigue for not sleeping properly for the past 10 days, moving from one’s friend house to another friend’s house, almost never spending a night in my home, facing a very well funded and well organized ruthless regime that views me as nothing but an annoying bug that its time to squash will come. The situation here is bleak to say the least.

It didn’t start out that way. On Tuesday Jan 25 it all started peacefully, and against all odds, we succeeded to gather hundreds of thousands and get them into Tahrir Square, despite being attacked by Anti-Riot Police who are using sticks, tear gas and rubber bullets against us. We managed to break all of their barricades and situated ourselves in Tahrir. The government responded by shutting down all cell communication in Tahrir square, a move which purpose was understood later when after midnight they went in with all of their might and attacked the protesters and evacuated the Square. The next day we were back at it again, and the day after. Then came Friday and we braved their communication blackout, their thugs, their tear gas and their bullets and we retook the square. We have been fighting to keep it ever since.

That night the government announced a military curfew, which kept getting shorter by the day, until it became from 8 am to 3 pm. People couldn’t go to work, gas was running out quickly and so were essential goods and money, since the banks were not allowed to operate and people were not able to collect their salary. The internet continued to be blocked, which affected all businesses in Egypt and will cause an economic meltdown the moment they allow the banks to operate again. We were being collectively punished for daring to say that we deserve democracy and rights, and to keep it up, they withdrew the police, and then sent them out dressed as civilians to terrorize our neighborhoods. I was shot at twice that day, one of which with a semi-automatic by a dude in a car that we the people took joy in pummeling. The government announced that all prisons were breached, and that the prisoners somehow managed to get weapons and do nothing but randomly attack people. One day we had organized thugs in uniforms firing at us and the next day they disappeared and were replaced by organized thugs without uniforms firing at us. Somehow the people never made the connection.

Despite it all, we braved it. We believed we are doing what’s right and were encouraged by all those around us who couldn’t believe what was happening to their country. What he did galvanized the people, and on Tuesday, despite shutting down all major roads leading into Cairo, we managed to get over 2 million protesters in Cairo alone and 3 million all over Egypt to come out and demand Mubarak’s departure. Those are people who stood up to the regime’s ruthlessness and anger and declared that they were free, and were refusing to live in the Mubarak dictatorship for one more day. That night, he showed up on TV, and gave a very emotional speech about how he intends to step down at the end of his term and how he wants to die in Egypt, the country he loved and served. To me, and to everyone else at the protests this wasn’t nearly enough, for we wanted him gone now. Others started asking that we give him a chance, and that change takes time and other such poppycock. Hell, some people and family members cried when they saw his speech. People felt sorry for him for failing to be our dictator for the rest of his life and inheriting us to his Son. It was an amalgam of Stockholm syndrome coupled with slave mentality in a malevolent combination that we never saw before. And the Regime capitalized on it today.

Today, they brought back the internet, and started having people calling on TV and writing on facebook on how they support Mubarak and his call for stability and peacefull change in 8 months. They hung on to the words of the newly appointed government would never harm the protesters, whom they believe to be good patriotic youth who have a few bad apples amongst them. We started getting calls asking people to stop protesting because “we got what we wanted” and “we need the country to start working again”. People were complaining that they miss their lives. That they miss going out at night, and ordering Home Delivery. That they need us to stop so they can resume whatever existence they had before all of this. All was forgiven, the past week never happened and it’s time for Unity under Mubarak’s rule right now.

To all of those people I say: NEVER! I am sorry that your lives and businesses are disrupted, but this wasn’t caused by the Protesters. The Protesters aren’t the ones who shut down the internet that has paralyzed your businesses and banks: The government did. The Protesters weren’t the ones who initiated the military curfew that limited your movement and allowed goods to disappear off market shelves and gas to disappear: The government did. The Protesters weren’t the ones who ordered the police to withdraw and claimed the prisons were breached and unleashed thugs that terrorized your neighborhoods: The government did. The same government that you wish to give a second chance to, as if 30 years of dictatorship and utter failure in every sector of government wasn’t enough for you. The Slaves were ready to forgive their master, and blame his cruelty on those who dared to defy him in order to ensure a better Egypt for all of its citizens and their children. After all, he gave us his word, and it’s not like he ever broke his promises for reform before or anything.

Then Mubarak made his move and showed them what useful idiots they all were.

You watched on TV as “Pro-Mubarak Protesters” – thugs who were paid money by NDP members by admission of High NDP officials- started attacking the peaceful unarmed protesters in Tahrir square. They attacked them with sticks, threw stones at them, brought in men riding horses and camels- in what must be the most surreal scene ever shown on TV- and carrying whips to beat up the protesters. And then the Bullets started getting fired and Molotov cocktails started getting thrown at the Anti-Mubarak Protesters as the Army standing idly by, allowing it all to happen and not doing anything about it. Dozens were killed, hundreds injured, and there was no help sent by ambulances. The Police never showed up to stop those attacking because the ones who were captured by the Anti-mubarak people had police ID’s on them. They were the police and they were there to shoot and kill people and even tried to set the Egyptian Museum on Fire. The Aim was clear: Use the clashes as pretext to ban such demonstrations under pretexts of concern for public safety and order, and to prevent disunity amongst the people of Egypt. But their plans ultimately failed, by those resilient brave souls who wouldn’t give up the ground they freed of Egypt, no matter how many live bullets or firebombs were hurled at them. They know, like we all do, that this regime no longer cares to put on a moderate mask. That they have shown their true nature. That Mubarak will never step down, and that he would rather burn Egypt to the ground than even contemplate that possibility.

In the meantime, State-owned and affiliated TV channels were showing coverage of Peaceful Mubarak Protests all over Egypt and showing recorded footage of Tahrir Square protest from the night before and claiming it’s the situation there at the moment. Hundreds of calls by public figures and actors started calling the channels saying that they are with Mubarak, and that he is our Father and we should support him on the road to democracy. A veiled girl with a blurred face went on Mehwer TV claiming to have received funding by Americans to go to the US and took courses on how to bring down the Egyptian government through protests which were taught by Jews. She claimed that AlJazeera is lying, and that the only people in Tahrir square now were Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. State TV started issuing statements on how the people arrested Israelis all over Cairo engaged in creating mayhem and causing chaos. For those of you who are counting this is an American-Israeli-Qatari-Muslim Brotherhood-Iranian-Hamas conspiracy. Imagine that. And MANY PEOPLE BOUGHT IT. I recall telling a friend of mine that the only good thing about what happened today was that it made clear to us who were the idiots amongst our friends. Now we know.

Now, just in case this isn’t clear: This protest is not one made or sustained by the Muslim Brotherhood, it’s one that had people from all social classes and religious background in Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood only showed up on Tuesday, and even then they were not the majority of people there by a long shot. We tolerated them there since we won’t say no to fellow Egyptians who wanted to stand with us, but neither the Muslims Brotherhood not any of the Opposition leaders have the ability to turn out one tenth of the numbers of Protesters that were in Tahrir on Tuesday. This is a revolution without leaders. Three Million individuals choosing hope instead of fear and braving death on hourly basis to keep their dream of freedom alive. Imagine that.

The End is near. I have no illusions about this regime or its leader, and how he will pluck us and hunt us down one by one till we are over and done with and 8 months from now will pay people to stage fake protests urging him not to leave power, and he will stay “because he has to acquiesce to the voice of the people”. This is a losing battle and they have all the weapons, but we will continue fighting until we can’t. I am heading to Tahrir right now with supplies for the hundreds injured, knowing that today the attacks will intensify, because they can’t allow us to stay there come Friday, which is supposed to be the game changer. We are bringing everybody out, and we will refuse to be anything else than peaceful. If you are in Egypt, I am calling on all of you to head down to Tahrir today and Friday. It is imperative to show them that the battle for the soul of Egypt isn’t over and done with. I am calling you to bring your friends, to bring medical supplies, to go and see what Mubarak’s gurantees look like in real life. Egypt needs you. Be Heroes.

Taken from the google cache of @sandmonkey’s blog this evening http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:i4qE47A4N9wJ:www.sandmonkey.org/+sandmonkey.org&hl=en&gl=us&strip=1

Photo’s taken from http://www.flickr.com/photos/elhamalawy/ with thanks and gratitude for images