Egyptian minister assaulted in Jerusalem


Egyptian foreign minister Mr Ahmed Maher was assaulted by Palestinians while praying in Jerusalem's Old City today, witnesses said.

Witnesses earlier said it appeared Maher had been physicallybeaten but later said he was accosted and jostled and possiblystruck one or two times, causing him to fall to the ground.

"A group of Palestinian extremists started shouting at Maherand calling him a traitor and collaborator and then they weretrying to reach him but guards (nearby) prevented them," amosque guard who witnessed the incident old Reuters.

"And then he fell unconscious," the guard said.

Israel's ambulance service said Mr Maher treated for shortness of breath by medics atthe scene, but one member of his entourage was taken to hospitalfor treatment.

A foreign ministry spokesman said Mr Maher, who had justcompleted talks on Middle East peace issues with Israelileaders, was accosted while going into the mosque in thecompound known as al Haram al Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) toMuslims and the Temple Mount to Jews.

"We don't think he is seriously hurt. We don't know thenature of the attack but (it happened after) he and hisentourage was surrounded by a huge crowd of Muslimworshippers...." the spokesman said.