News / Middle East

Four Killed, Scores Wounded in Clashes Across Egypt

Muslim Brotherhood member shouts anti-military slogans in front of Al Rayyan mosque after Friday prayers, southern suburb of Maadi, Cairo, Dec. 27, 2013.
Muslim Brotherhood member shouts anti-military slogans in front of Al Rayyan mosque after Friday prayers, southern suburb of Maadi, Cairo, Dec. 27, 2013.
Reuters
Muslim Brotherhood supporters and police clashed across Egypt on Friday, leaving at least four dead in protests after the army-backed government declared the group a terrorist organization.

The violence broke out after Friday prayers and the health ministry said at least 87 people were wounded in the fighting, which flared in Cairo and at least four other cities.

An 18-year-old Brotherhood supporter was shot dead in the Nile Delta city of Damietta. A second man was killed in Minya, a bastion of Islamist support south of Cairo, and a third person was killed in the capital, the interior ministry said, without providing further details.

A young man was killed late on Friday, the state news agency reported, after battles broke out in the southern city of Aswan between security forces firing tear gas and Brotherhood supporters who burned two police cars.

Anti-government protesters run for cover during clashes with police in Helwan on the outskirts of Cairo on December 27, 2013.Anti-government protesters run for cover during clashes with police in Helwan on the outskirts of Cairo on December 27, 2013.
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Anti-government protesters run for cover during clashes with police in Helwan on the outskirts of Cairo on December 27, 2013.
Anti-government protesters run for cover during clashes with police in Helwan on the outskirts of Cairo on December 27, 2013.
Security forces detained at least 265 Brotherhood supporters nationwide, including at least 28 women, the ministry also said.

The widening crackdown has increased tensions in a country suffering the worst internal strife of its modern history since the army deposed Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July.

Security forces have killed hundreds of his supporters and lethal attacks on soldiers and police have become commonplace.

The Muslim Brotherhood

  • Egypt's largest and oldest Islamist organization
  • Was banned under Hosni Mubarak
  • The Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi was elected president in 2012
  • The Brotherhood won the most seats in 2012 parliamentary elections
  • Brotherhood supporters have staged massive protests since Morsi's ouster
  • Egypt outlawed the group again in September 2013
  • Egypt's military-installed government declared it a terrorist organization in December 2013
The Brotherhood was declared a terrorist organization after 16 people were killed in a suicide attack on a police station on Tuesday, although the group condemned the attack and it was claimed by a radical faction based in the Sinai Peninsula.

The Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamist allies had called for protests in response to the government decision.

Gunfire

Police fired birdshot and tear gas at student protesters at Al-Azhar university's Cairo campus. Gunfire was heard in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia, where demonstrators threw fireworks and rocks at police who used teargas, a Reuters witness said.

A number of police officers were injured in the clashes, the interior ministry said. A senior police officer in the city of Minya was injured during clashes between police and demonstrators that began when Brotherhood supporters threw stones at a local police station and attempted to break in, state-run newspaper Al-Ahram reported.

Some analysts say Egypt faces a protracted spell of attacks by Islamist radicals, as well as eruptions of civil strife.

A student supporter of the Brotherhood was killed late on Thursday in what the interior ministry described as a melee in Cairo between supporters and opponents of the Brotherhood.

On Friday, a furniture store was set on fire by residents of a Cairo suburb after police stormed inside and arrested three employees, having received complaints that the men had firearms and were Brotherhood members.

The government has said the violence will not derail a political transition plan whose next step is a mid-January referendum on a new constitution.

Officials have issued a new round of harsher warnings against anyone taking part in protests in support of the Brotherhood, saying they will be punished under anti-terrorism laws that envisage five years imprisonment.

Jail terms for those convicted under the terrorism law can stretch up to life imprisonment and Brotherhood leaders face the death penalty.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy on Thursday and “expressed concern” about the terrorist designation of the Muslim Brotherhood and recent detentions, the State Department said.

The Brotherhood, which won every election since Hosni Mubarak was toppled in 2011, has been driven underground since the army deposed the freely elected Morsi in July.

Thousands of Brotherhood members and supporters have since been jailed. Morsi and other top leaders are also behind bars. Despite the pressure, the Brotherhood has continued near-daily protests against the Egyptian authorities.

In a statement condemning the government's freezing of the funds of Islamist charity groups, the Brotherhood accused the government of spreading Christianity by empowering Coptic Christian charities over Islamic ones.

  • Activists shout anti-terrorism slogans as they hold posters with Arabic slogans that read, "Egypt is entrusted to us. The army and people are one hand," during a rally in Cairo, Dec. 26, 2013.
  • An activist holds a sign with an anti-terrorism picture and Arabic that reads "terrorists brotherhood" during an anti-terrorism demonstration in Cairo, Dec. 26, 2013.
  • Egyptian police stand guard after an explosion hit a public bus in Cairo's eastern Nasr City district, Dec. 26, 2013.
  • Bus driver Adel Abd El Fatah sits inside a damaged bus after a bomb blast near the Al-Azhar University campus in Cairo's Nasr City district, Dec. 26, 2013.
  • Egyptians carry the coffin of a victim killed in an explosion at a police headquarters in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura, Egypt, Dec. 24, 2013.
  • An Egyptian man makes his way through rubble at the scene of an explosion at a police headquarters building in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura, Egypt, Dec. 24, 2013.

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Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
December 28, 2013 8:51 AM
Egyptian authorities must do everything within their powers to curb the Brotherhood distractions. The concern here is that the government is not fast enough in containing the insurgency led by the Brotherhood which has verbally denounced violence but continues to fuel violence by its everyday call for protests and lawlessness occasioned by unlawful assembly. The Egyptians who claim to protests against military but cause the military to stay longer than necessary should be told that though the interim administration tends to mean it's going forward with its transition program, but transition does not happen in a situation of chaos. Therefore what those Egyptians have earned themselves may be an elongation of the present lull whereby the interim situation may have to be carried over for years before a proper transition can start - pending a conducive situation of peace. What is sure for now is that the interim administration is supported by the army, it may not remain like this for too long if the current fracas led by the Muslim Brotherhood, who have been labeled terrorists, persists. The good thing these Egyptians should do to themselves and to the rest of the country is render a level of cooperation to the transition government to return the country to peace, otherwise if the army takes full control - and it's likely to be soon given the level and spate of terrorist activities in the Sinai areas - things might get worse.

by: joanofark06 from: United States
December 28, 2013 4:14 AM
It's gonna be a long road for Egypt to travel, to get these "people" out. I'm behind them as long as their getting the right ones, i.e. the ones that say cut off the heads of the unbelievers. I sure wish certain countries would learn from this. Egypt is doing the right thing.

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