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Jordan deputies burn Israeli flag in assembly

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AMMAN (Reuters) - Jordanian deputies burnt an Israeli flag during a parliamentary session on Sunday in a rare protest against the Jewish state’s raids on the Gaza Strip, parliamentary sources said.

Khalil Atiyah, a prominent independent deputy, along with several pro-government MP’s and an Islamist deputy, set the flag aflame then stamped on it inside the lower house chamber during a special session to show solidarity with the Palestinians.

Several mainstream deputies also demanded the kingdom, the second Arab country to sign a peace agreement with Israel, sever diplomatic ties with its neighbour and expel its ambassador.

Israel launched more air strikes on Gaza on Sunday following attacks on Saturday initiated in response to rocket and mortar fire from Gaza militants.

The attacks, some of the worst in 60 years of Israeli-Palestinian conflict, provoked angry reactions among Jordanians, many of whom are of Palestinian origin.

In the second day of protests in the capital Amman, hundreds of Jordanians marched to the Egyptian embassy to demand Cairo throw open its border with Gaza, ending the blockade imposed on the coastal strip for much of the time since Hamas won Palestinian parliamentary elections in 2006.

“Stop this Egypt. How many more martyrs do you need before you decide to open Rafah (the crossing),” one banner said.

Protesters and opposition groups also have demanded that Egypt and Jordan break off relations with Israel.

Jordan, like Egypt, has ignored public pressure to expel the Israeli ambassador, saying such a move would only harden Israel’s attitudes and hamper efforts towards a comprehensive peace deal.

Writing by Suleiman al-Khalidi, editing by Angus MacSwan