Egypt: Death toll in military clampdown rises to 32

7th Jul 2013

CAIRO,  (Xinhua): At least 32 people were killed and more than 1,100 injured overnight Friday in Egypt during clashes between opponents and supporters of deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi across the country, a senior Health Ministry official said on Saturday.

“32 people were killed, and 1,138 were injured in Friday’s clashes in 19 governorates, of whom 1,076 were moved to nearest hospitals, while 62 others were treated at spots,” Mohamed Sultan, head of the Egyptian Ambulance Organization, told Xinhua.

According to Health Ministry’s reports, seven people were killed in the capital Cairo, 12 in Alexandria, one in Assiut, one in Giza, on in Suez, six in North Sinai including four recruits, four in Ismailia and hundreds were injured in other governorates.

The nationwide turmoil was sparked by a statement by the Armed Forces ousting the Islamist-oriented president Morsi on Wednesday in response to massive protests across the country demanding his removal.

Islamist supporters of Morsi rejected the ouster as “a military coup” and vowed to struggle for “Morsi’s legitimacy.”

On Friday evening, violent clashes erupted between Morsi’s supporters and opponents when crowds of pro-Morsi protesters marched to the October 6 Bridge near Tahrir Square on their way to the state TV building to protest against the ouster of Morsi, where they were confronted by Morsi’s opponents who have been celebrating his removal in the square.

In the early hours of Saturday, unknown militants attacked three checkpoints and the central security forces in Arish city in North Sinai, Xinhua reporter said no injuries were reported following the exchange of fire with the security forces.

On Thursday overnight hundreds of gunmen attacked Arish Airport, a security camp in Rafah, a police station and two security checkpoints in Sheikh Zewaid by heavy artillery and RPGs in North Sinai, leaving a soldier killed and three others injured.

The continuous one-million-man protests in all Egyptian governorates are “the practical path to preserve the gains of the second wave of the Egyptian revolution,” added the statement, asserting Egyptians should oversee the transitional period and its roadmap to prevent any deviation.

Opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei, who is nominated to a vice president post, said Saturday “affiliation to the Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails, isn’t a crime, and the army intervention was the less painful alternative.”

“The other option was a civil war,” ElBaradei told the London- based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper, adding it wasn’t a military coup.

ElBaradei added that a series of arrests were precautionary and security procedures to avoid inciting violence, asserting that Morsi was treated in a very gentle way by the security forces when detained.

He added that a decision to shut down religious channels was based on charges of inciting violence, adding that big quantities of weapon were seized in such channels.

On Wednesday, the army announced ousting Morsi and appointing Adli Mansour, head of the Supreme Constitutional Court, as interim president during the transitional period.

Since then, Muslim Brotherhood’s leading figures have been arrested including Mohamed Saad al-katatni, leader of the MB’s Freedom and Justice Party, and Rashad al-Bayoumi, deputy leader of the group and some staff members of Islamic TV channels.

Also General-Prosecutor Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud ordered a travel ban on the ousted president and other 35 MB figures over charges of killing protestors.

Meanwhile, Islamist Sharia Supporters group said the army intervention to oust the “legitimate” president was “a war against Islam,” calling, in a statement on its website, for “using violence to impose Sharia (Islamic rules).”

“The army’s intervention to oust our president, closure of Islamic channels and killing Islamist protesters are a war against Islam in Egypt,” the ulta-conservative group said, adding it collects weapons and trains its members to protect the Sharia.

The statement blamed the latest events on liberals, Copts, and armed forces.

It also condemned democracy and called for enforcing the Sharia.

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