Egyptian foreign minister attacked in mosque

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Muslim demonstrators attacked Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher today as he tried to pray at the Al Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third-holiest site, in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Witnesses said Muslim extremists shouted at him and tried to assault him. Israeli Bodyguards surrounded the minister and whisked him out of the compound. They said he was heard saying, "I'm going to choke, I'm going to choke" as he was being taken away.

Mr Maher was taken to an Israeli ambulance, where medics were treating him for shortness of breath, the Israeli rescue service said. Another member of the delegation was taken to a hospital, they said.

The Israeli police said protesters threw shoes at Mr Maher. Muslims remove their shoes at the entrance to mosques. The statement said that police were not guarding the Minister in the mosque area. Israeli police usually stay outside the compound, leaving security to the Muslim Council.

Mr Maher was in Israel for talks with Israeli leaders about resuming peace talks with the Palestinians.