Irish citizens leave besieged Cairo mosque
Four Halawa siblings understood to be safe after Egyptian security forces storm building
Armed civilians manned impromptu checkpoints throughout the capital, banning Brotherhood marches from approaching and frisking anyone wanting to pass through. At one, residents barred ambulances and cars carrying wounded from Cairo’s main battleground, Ramses Square, from reaching a hospital.
At least 12 people were killed near the square as some in the crowd tried to attack a police station, security officials said. An army spokesman accused gunmen of firing from the mosque at nearby buildings.
Similar battles played out in cities across the country, where people brandishing weapons attacked police and residents fired at one another.
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Egypt’s security forces were rocked by the country’s 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak and have not fully recovered since.
In the canal city of Suez, 14 people were killed in clashes between protesters and security forces. In Egypt’s second-largest city of Alexandria, 10 people were killed during clashes between the two rival camps. Security officials said violence was also fierce in the province of Fayoum, just west of Cairo, where seven people were killed during an attempt to storm the main security building there, a security official said. Two policemen died in the attack.
In the southern province of Minya, protesters attacked two Christian churches, security officials said. At churches across the country, residents formed human chains to try to protect them from further assaults, and a civilian was killed while trying to protect a church in Sohag, south of Cairo, authorities said. Many of Mr Morsi’s supporters have criticised Egypt’s Christian minority for largely supporting the military’s decision to remove him from office, and dozens of churches have been attacked this week.
Mourad Ali, a spokesman for the Brotherhood, denounced the attacks on churches, saying they ran counter to Islamic principles and were an attempt to ignite sectarian divisions. “Our stance is clear ... We strongly condemn any attack - even verbal - on churches and on Coptic property. This holds true whether or not Coptic leaders joined in or supported the July 3 coup. This does not justify any attack on them,” he said in an online statement.
More than 1,000 people were arrested in yesterday’s clashes, including local Brotherhood leaders in the provinces. The group’s top figures are facing charges of inciting violence and some have been imprisoned for weeks.
Mr Morsi has been held at an undisclosed location and is facing a criminal investigation.
Additional reporting: Agencies