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Dozens arrested during attack on Semiramis

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The local hotel sent tweets early Tuesday calling for help as assailants entered the hotel

A man walks past the damage to the lobby of the Samir Amis Intercontinental Hotel after it was vandalized when protestors stormed the entrance last night, in central of Cairo on January 29, 2013. Egypt's military chief warned that the political crisis sweeping the country could lead to the collapse of the state, as thousands defied curfews and the death toll from days of rioting rose to 52. AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI

A man walks past the damage to the lobby of the Samiramis Intercontinental Hotel in Central Cairo after it was vandalised on 29 January 2013. AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI

Authorities have arrested 28 people accused of carrying out an attack on Semiramis Intercontinental Hotel early morning Tuesday.

The hotel announced Tuesday afternoon that it was temporarily closing for security reasons. “We hope to be back up and running very soon,” the hotel management said on Twitter.

Semiramis is located on Corniche El-Nile in near Tahrir Square where protesters and security have repeatedly clashed since Friday. Confrontations restarted outside the hotel on Tuesday afternoon, Al-Shorouk news reported.

Hotel management had sent out frantic tweets when the attack began.

“THUGS HAVE ENTERED THE IC SEMIRAMIS ON THE CORNICHE!” one Twitter message said. The tweet was followed by several more messages asking for help and urging people to spread the word.

The attackers entered the hotel after breaking down hotel barriers and lobby doors. Civilians surrounded the hotel until security forces arrived.

Police caught them carrying computers, televisions, fire extinguishers and automated telling machines.  No casualties or injuries have been reported.

After the hotel was secured by security officers, Semiramis thanked those involved for their help and “speedy response to our SOS.”

The hotel’s management said they contacted authorities before reaching out to the media, adding that the safety of hotel guests and workers is their priority.

Prime Minister Hisham Qandil visited Tahrir Square later on Tuesday after Special Forces came and secured the area.

He thanked police officers in charge of securing the vicinity of the hotel and asked them to respect peaceful protesters expressing opinions without burning or destroying property or buildings.

Qandil also urged protesters to remain away from suspicious areas in order to expose those attempting to cause destruction.


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