Latest on Egypt Clashes
EGYPT, Cairo : An Egyptian woman tries to stop a military bulldozer from going forward during clashes that broke out as Egyptian security forces moved in to disperse supporters of Egypt's deposed president Mohamed Morsi in a huge protest camp near Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in eastern Cairo on August 14, 2013. AFP PHOTO /MOHAMMED ABDEL MONEIM
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Sources who talked to Ahram's Arabic news website said that El-Beltagi and Islamist preacher Safwat Hegazy, who is close to the Brotherhood, were being besieged by security forces in a house close to the Rabaa sit-in.
El-Beltagi and Hegazy both face charges of incitement of violence and attempted murder, but have avoided arrest by staying within the Cairo sit-in, often appearing on the sit-in's stage addressing the crowds or speaking in press conferences.
13:15 Protests in Alexandria are ongoing; Ahram reports that protesters set fire to a government building in the suburb of Kom El-Deka and clashed with security forces at El-Raml train station located nearby. The demonstrators stormed the government building and set parts on fire.
13:10 UAE media outlet Xpress is reporting on Twitter that its reporter Habiba Ahmed Abd Elaziz has been "shot dead in Cairo." No further details have been released yet.
13:05 Alastair Beach, a reporter with the UK daily the Independent, is at Rabaa field hospital, where he reports seeing 42 bodies. "Pro-Morsi protesters have barricaded themselves inside upper floors of field clinic as live fire crackles outside" he tweets.
13:00 In Luxor, clashes have been going on since Morsi supporters staged a protest in Abu Haggag Square. During this time the protesters burned a police car, attacked a policeman stealing his weapon and uniform in addition to attacking a number of shops, according to Ahram’s reporter in Luxor, Iman El-Hawary.
Pro-Morsi supporters have also attacked four police stations in the governorate of Giza.
12:55 Al-Azhar, Egypt's leading Islamic institution, said that it was not aware of plans to disperse the sit-ins and that it had learned about them through the media.
Al-Azhar's grand imam Ahmed El-Tayyeb said in a spoken statement broadcast on Egyptian television that Al-Azhar should not be dragged into political conflicts.
He called for "self-restraint" and giving priority to "the national interest", condemning violence and bloodshed.
12:50 In Fayoum in Upper Egypt, pro-Morsi supporters set fire to a Christian youth centre located next to the Muslim youth centre where they had been protesting, reported Ahram Arabic.
The protesters also set fire to a rest house located near the Fayoum-Cairo highway, while security forces blocked roads leading to government headquarters and blocked off the highway.
In Aswan, three people have been confirmed dead at the university hospital, with 22 injured, after clashes between protesters and security forces. Morsi supporters have torched 5 Central Security Forces vehicles and took guns and teargas canisters from inside the trucks, Ahram Arabic reported.
12:45 In a brief televised statement, Egypt's interim government said it would react sternly to any acts of sabotage and attacks on state institutions. The government vowed to safeguard the right to political expression as long as it remains peaceful and stays within the domain of the law.
“The government insists on moving forward with the future roadmap in a way that guarantees that no faction will be excluded from participating in the political process which will achieve a democratic transition,” the statement read.
12:40 The stock market has, unsurprisingly, not reacted well to today’s violence.
The EGX30, the main index of the Egyptian stock exchange, dropped 1.68 percent by 12:40pm to sit at 5,550 points. Trading volume floats at around LE230 million.
The market had neared a six-month high on Tuesday.
12:35 The international community has expressed concerns about the dispersals of the demonstrations.
An European Union spokesman has said that reports that protesters had been killed in a security force crackdown were "extremely worrying" and called for restraint from Egyptian authorities.
The German foreign minister has also called on all sides to "return immediately to negotiations and avert an escalation of violence."
Alistair Burt, the UK foreign minister, wrote on Twitter several hours ago that he was "deeply concerned at events continuing today in #Cairo leading to deaths and injury. Restraint and dialogue more urgent than ever."
12:30 There have been a number of reported attacks by protesters on police stations around Egypt.
An attack on tthe Abu Kurkas police station in Minya left eight dead and at least 30 injured according to a medical source, reported Ahram Arabic.
Members of the Muslim Brotherhood have also attacked police stations in Fayoum, Assiut, Helwan, andSharqiya while a police car was set on fire in Luxor.
12:25 Egyptian state television is reporting that protesters at Rabaa Al-Adawiya threw a Central Security Forces (CSF) vehicle off the nearby 6 October Bridge. The vehicle had five police conscripts inside. The report is unconfirmed.
12:20 The Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya ultra-conservative movement called on supporters of toppled president Morsi to take to the streets to condemn what it termed "coup crimes."
The statement by the hardline Islamist group – a close ally of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood – also urged its loyalists “enraged by police attacks on the Rabaa and Nahda sit-ins,” not to assault “Christians or their religious buildings.”
There have been a number of attacks on churches around Egypt this morning, including in Minya and Sohag.
12:15 Violence continues in the cities on the Suez Canal.
Reports of violence against Christian targets in Suez. Ahram Arabic reports that pro-Morsi supporters threw Molotov cocktails at the Al-Raey Al-Saleh Church and set three military vehicles on fire. Clashes are ongoing between protesters and military forces.
In Ismailiya, a military officer and a conscript were shot dead on the highway connecting the city with Cairo, by unknown assailants reported to have fired from a car. Two other officers were injured, reported Ahram Arabic.
12:10 A BBC reporter has said that gunfire is currently being exchanged between both sides at Al-Nahda Square in Giza after the dispersal of the pro-Morsi sit-in.
Ahram Online reporter Mai Shaheen, who was at the sit-in earlier, confirmed that automatic weapons were being fired by Morsi supporters at police from within Al-Orman Gardens adjacent to the square.
12:05 According to Ahram Arabic, Mohamed El-Zaki, a photographer for Al Jazeera Mubasher news network was injured during clashes at Rabaa. Zaki was shot in the hand while covering the clashes. A reporter for Sky News Arabic was also reportedly shot by live ammunition and is being transported to hospital.
12:00 In a cabinet statement earlier this morning, the government reiterated the interior ministry's claims that the police have been demonstrating "restraint" and using only teargas and water cannon. There have been many reports to the contrary, including an Ahram Online reporter who was caught in the crossfire between protesters and police at Al-Nahda, with live fire being used on both sides.
11:55 Senior health ministry official Mohamed Sultan said in a statement to state news agency MENA that the death toll from the sit-in dispersals had reached 13, five of which were security forces – two officers and three conscripts.
Sultan said the injury toll had reached 98, including many from live fire, shotgun pellets and teargas.
The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party said in their latest statement that the Rabaa Al-Adawiya field hospital has over 500 dead and 9,000 injured.
All figures are impossible to verify at the moment, especially as security forces are making in hard for reporters to access the sit-ins. However, an AFP reporter earlier counted 43 bodies at the morgue at the Rabaa Al-Adawiya field hospital.
11:45 The interior ministry says that security monitoring has revealed that leaders of Muslim Brotherhood have "given orders to their members in the governorates to attack police stations."
In a statement published by state news agency MENA, the ministry said that the Brotherhood has already started "implementing the plan in Cairo, Beni Suef, Minya, Assiut and Sohag." The ministry's forces are combating these attempts, it said, and warned citizens against approaching "any police facilities."
11:40 There are reports of ongoing protests and clashes all over Egypt.
In Alexandria, hundreds of members of the Muslim Brotherhood are reportedly clashing with security forces on the corniche, the main sea-front road. Brotherhood members have attacked security forces with stones and pellet fire, while the police respond with teargas. Several public buses have also been set on fire by protesters.
In Suez, pro-Morsi protesters fired at an army truck during a march headed to the governorate headquarters and the local security directorate. According to Ahram Arabic, Morsi supporters also set on fire a Franciscan school as well as a number of shops and cars, all located on Al-Geish Street.
In Ismailiya, Ahram’s Khaled Lotfy says that pro-Morsi protesters have been throwing Molotov cocktails at court buildings while security forces attempt to control the fire and secure other governmental buildings in the area.
In Upper Egypt, clashes between protesters and the police continue in Assiut with pro-Morsi protesters throwing rocks and setting a police car on fire in Mahata Square, according to Islam Radwan, Ahram’s reporter in the city.
In Wadi El-Gedid governorate in Egypt’s Western Desert, dozens of pro-Morsi supporters headed to the local post office to close it down and attack security forces there, according to Mahmoud Abbas, a post office manager. He told Ahram’s Khaled Karish that locals in the area stopped the attack and the protesters headed on to the governorate building.
11:35 The Strong Egypt Party has said that it holds the Egyptian authorities responsible for the “deaths of the victims” today. Spokesman Ahmed Imam said that the dispersal of the sit-ins is a "crime" that will lead to more violence. The party, which is Islamist-oriented, took part in the 30 June protests against Morsi but rejected his ouster by the military, describing it as a "coup."
The April 6 Youth Movement blames “the army, interior ministry and the Muslim Brotherhood” for today's bloodshed, saying on its Facebook page that the interior ministry does not mind if people die so long as it “consolidates its control” and that the Brotherhood also do not care about lives but only about “reclaiming power.”
11:30 Clashes continue at Rabaa where security forces are inside the camp, with the sounds of gunfire echoing in the area.
Egypt's interior ministry said protesters on nearby rooftops and inside the camp had opened fire at security forces who continued to take down tents and makeshift barriers erected by pro-Morsi protesters, Aswat Masriya reported
11:20 A priest named as Ihab told Ahram’s Haggag El-Husseini that the Dalga church in Deir Mawat located in Upper Egypt’s Minya governorate is under attack.
The main Coptic Orthodox Church in Sohag city, also in Upper Egypt, has been set ablaze by pro-Morsi protesters, reports Aswat Masriya. It is located close to Thaqafa Square, where thousands are protesting against the sit-ins' disperal.
11:15 Egyptian police on Wednesday morning attacked two large sit-ins being held by supporters of Mohamed Morsi in Greater Cairo.
The smaller sit-in at Al-Nahda Square in Giza was completely dispersed according to the interior ministry, while the larger demonstration at Rabaa Al-Adawiya mosque, across the river in east Cairo, is surrounded by police and under heavy fire. Many key highways around Cairo are blocked off by security forces, particularly those leading to the sit-ins.
The railway authority said it had stopped all train services in and out of Cairo "for security reasons and to prevent people from mobilising".
The death toll from the attacks is hard to ascertain; the health ministry has reported ten dead across Cairo in the incidents, but their reports are based on figures from public hospitals, and do not include those bodies that have yet to reach official healthcare facilities.
Egyptian state television has said that two police personnel, an officer and a conscript, were killed and six wounded during the attempt to clear out the two sit-ins.
There are also reports of violence in the middle-class Giza district of Mohandeseen and in Maydan Al-Giza, in the Giza district, between Morsi supporters and police.
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