World News

Dozens Dead in Cairo Gun Battles

Angry Egyptians emerged from midday prayers and took to the streets in a show of defiance, igniting a series of deadly clashes that quickly spread across the country.

Health officials say at least 70 people were killed in Friday's fighting, most of them in violence in and around Cairo's Ramses Square. Some news reports put the death toll much higher, while witnesses say they saw dozens of bodies laid out in mosques that have become makeshift morgues.

The renewed violence gripped Egypt as supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood defied a state-of-emergency to hold a "Day of Rage."

The protests quickly descended into chaos. Video shows residents pelting Muslim Brotherhood supporters with rocks as well as plain-clothed Egyptians firing at each other in running street battles. The Muslim Brotherhood said a military aircraft opened fire on demonstrators.

Near Ramses Square, fire engulfed the building that houses a construction company. It was not clear how the fire started.

Clashes were also reported between protesters and security forces in Alexandria, Fayoum, Suez, Ismailia, Tanta and El Arish. Despite a night time curfew many protesters remained on the streets into the night.

The office of Egypt's interim president said he would hold a news conference on Saturday to talk about the latest developments.



The confrontations follow Wednesday's government crackdown on two pro-Morsi camps in Cairo. The government says 638 people were killed during the crackdown, but the Muslim Brotherhood says the death toll is in the thousands.

Earlier Friday, Egyptian state media warned people to stay off the streets in Cairo as an operation to confront what it calls "terrorist elements" unfolds. Officials had previously warned that security forces would use live ammunition if any government facilities were attacked.

In a Skype interview from Cairo, VOA correspondent Elizabeth Arrott described how protesters in Cairo reacted as they heard shots fired.



"All of a sudden there will be a noise and the entire crowd in unison will duck down, which is an indication that there are some kinds of shots being fired. It is not clear exactly what kind. Not tear gas or we would have seen the plumes of smoke."



At the U.N., Egyptian Ambassador Mootaz Ahmadein Khalil told reporters his government is willing to work with all factions of society.



"We will have a political inclusive, an inclusive political process that will include all members of Egyptian society no matter what they think as long as they do not resort to violence."



Meanwhile, the U.N. announced it was sending its political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman to Egypt next week for consultations with Egyptian authorities.

French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have called for European Union foreign ministers to meet next week to discuss Egypt's crisis. In a Friday statement, they also called for an immediate end to the unrest.

U.S. President Barack Obama has canceled next month's scheduled military exercises with Egypt. He says traditional cooperation cannot continue when civilians are being killed in the streets.

On Friday, two U.S. Republicans senators called on Mr. Obama to suspend all aid to Egypt.

Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham traveled to Egypt last week at the behest of Mr. Obama. In their statement, they said Egypt's interim government and the military are, "taking Egypt down a dark path, one that the United States cannot and should not travel with them.''

The U.S. provides Egypt with $1.3 billion in military aid each year.

###

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 02, 2015 6:19 PM
Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.

VOA Blogs