US cancels award for Egyptian woman due to anti-US tweets

The State Department has canceled the award it planned to give an Egyptian activist whose Twitter account included virulently anti-American and anti-Semitic statements.

The decision Friday comes a day after the administration postponed the award, while it looked into the recently discovered tweets from activist Samira Ibrahim.

Some of the tweets praised attacks on U.S. diplomatic installations and against Israeli civilians in Bulgaria.

Ibrahim initially claimed she had been hacked. But now she is defiantly refusing to apologize to what she calls the "Zionist lobby in America" for her "previous anti-Zionist statements."

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Friday that "upon further review," the department would not present the award.

"We never presented it. We've decided that we will not present it," she said.

In July of last year, after five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver were killed in a bombing, a tweet on Ibrahim's account said: "An explosion on a bus carrying Israelis in Burgas airport in Bulgaria on the Black Sea. Today is a very sweet day with a lot of very sweet news."

As a mob was attacking the United States embassy in Cairo on Sept. 11 of last year, pulling down the American flag and raising the flag of Al Qaeda, a tweet on her account said: "Today is the anniversary of 9/11. May every year come with America burning." The tweet was deleted a couple of hours later, but not before a screen shot was saved by an Egyptian activist.

And in August, a tweet on the account said: "I have discovered with the passage of days, that no act contrary to morality, no crime against society, takes place, except with the Jews having a hand in it. Hitler."

The department had named Ibrahim among recipients of a women's award to be presented Friday by Secretary of State John Kerry and first lady Michelle Obama. Ibrahim was among seven women subjected to forced "virginity tests" after being detained during a protest in Cairo's Tahrir Square in March 2011. She helped bring worldwide attention to the tests, which prompted the military to forbid the practice last year -- and prompted the attention from the U.S. government.

The offensive tweets were first reported by The Weekly Standard.

Sen. Mark Kirk had urged the State Department to investigate and said other women were more deserving of the honor.

In a letter to Kerry, the Illinois Republican said Ibrahim used her Twitter account to "express anti-Semitic views and support for international terrorism" and called her hacking claim "dubious" given the timing and duration of the tweets.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.