Saudi Arabia's official news agency says the kingdom has closed its embassy and consulates in Egypt and recalled its ambassador following protests over a detained Egyptian human rights lawyer.

Hundreds of Egyptians have rallied outside the Saudi Embassy this week to demand the release of Ahmed el-Gezawi, who was detained in Saudi Arabia for allegedly insulting the kingdom's monarch. Saudi authorities say the lawyer was arrested trying to smuggle anti-anxiety drugs into the kingdom.

Saturday's announcement Saturday is a sharp escalation in the case.