Seventeen killed in Egypt clashes on ‘Friday of rage’
Thousands demonstrate against removal of Muslim Brotherhood president Morsi
Dozens of people were wounded in clashes in Morsi’s Nile Delta home city on Thursday, raising fears of more of the violence in which several dozen have died in the past month.
In the Sinai Peninsula near Israel, gunmen fired rocket-propelled grenades at army checkpoints guarding an airport and rocketed a police station near the border with the Palestinian territories. One soldier was killed and two wounded, a security source said.
An army spokesman said the army in the Sinai Peninsula was “on alert”. He denied an earlier report by state-owned media Al-Ahram that a state of emergency had been imposed in the South Sinai and Suez provinces, which had caused a spike in oil prices from international markets on edge over the unrest.
How the army deals with any unrest today and beyond will help determine future support for Cairo from the US and other international powers.
Concern that the generals have staged a military coup against Mr Morsi has left Washington reviewing the $1.5 billion (€1.17 billion) in mostly military aid it annually gives Egypt.
US law bars aid for countries where the military has toppled an elected government in a coup. Washington has so far avoided using that label.
In the skies above the teeming city, the airforce staged fly-pasts, with jets leaving red, white and black smoke streams - representing the Egyptian flag - behind them in a show of force the military has employed frequently since Mr Morsi’s removal.
A military source said: “We will continue to secure the places of protest with troops, and jets if necessary, to make sure the pro- and anti-Mursi demonstrators don’t confront each other. We will let them demonstrate and go where they want.”
Mr Morsi’s political opponents insist there was no coup.
Rather, the army heeded the “will of the people” in forcing the president out.
UN human rights chief Navi Pillay said earlier today she was concerned by reports of the detention of leading members of Egypt‘s Muslim Brotherhood, but stopped short of saying whether their overthrow this week constituted a coup d’etat.
“I hope that the rule of law and a system of government that respects the human rights of all Egyptians - men and women - can be quickly re-established,” she said in a statement.
Her spokesman Rupert Colville told a regular UN briefing that specific crimes would need to have been committed to justify the detentions of the Muslim Brotherhood’s leaders.