Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Bloody street battles claim 34 lives in Cairo as Morsi supporters and military clash

Fireworks burst over opponents of Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi during a rally outside the Presidential palace, in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, July 7, 2013. Egypt's new leadership wrangled over the naming of a prime minister, as both the Muslim Brotherhood and their opponents called for new mass rallies Sunday, renewing fears of another round of street violence over the military's ousting of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. The calls for competing rallies come after clashes two days ago between the rival camps left at least 36 dead and more than 1,000 injured nationwide. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
Fireworks burst over opponents of Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi during a rally outside the Presidential palace, in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, July 7, 2013. Egypt's new leadership wrangled over the naming of a prime minister, as both the Muslim Brotherhood and their opponents called for new mass rallies Sunday, renewing fears of another round of street violence over the military's ousting of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. The calls for competing rallies come after clashes two days ago between the rival camps left at least 36 dead and more than 1,000 injured nationwide. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
Supporters of the Tamarrod or "Rebe"l movement wave Egyptian flags  in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday 7, 2013 .  Egypt's new leadership wrangled over the naming of a prime minister, as both the Muslim Brotherhood and their opponents called for new mass rallies Sunday, renewing fears of another round of street violence over the military's ousting of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. The calls for competing rallies come after clashes two days ago between the rival camps left at least 36 dead and more than 1,000 injured nationwide. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)
Supporters of the Tamarrod or "Rebe"l movement wave Egyptian flags in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday 7, 2013 . Egypt's new leadership wrangled over the naming of a prime minister, as both the Muslim Brotherhood and their opponents called for new mass rallies Sunday, renewing fears of another round of street violence over the military's ousting of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. The calls for competing rallies come after clashes two days ago between the rival camps left at least 36 dead and more than 1,000 injured nationwide. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)
CAIRO, EGYPT - JULY 07:  A group of people ride a motorcycle as Egyptians celebrate into the night on a bridge near Tahrir Square following a massive rally against ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and in support of the military on July 7, 2013 in Cairo, Egypt. Egypt continues to be in a state of political paralysis following the ousting of Morsi by the military. Over 20 people have been killed in clashes around the country in recent days with dozens injured as the Egyptian military tries to restore order between the pro and anti Morsi camps. Adly Mansour, chief justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court, was sworn in as the interim head of state in ceremony in Cairo in the morning of July 4. More protests are scheduled for today.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
CAIRO, EGYPT - JULY 07: A group of people ride a motorcycle as Egyptians celebrate into the night on a bridge near Tahrir Square following a massive rally against ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and in support of the military on July 7, 2013 in Cairo, Egypt. Egypt continues to be in a state of political paralysis following the ousting of Morsi by the military. Over 20 people have been killed in clashes around the country in recent days with dozens injured as the Egyptian military tries to restore order between the pro and anti Morsi camps. Adly Mansour, chief justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court, was sworn in as the interim head of state in ceremony in Cairo in the morning of July 4. More protests are scheduled for today. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

At least 34 people have been killed in an attack outside the headquarters of the Republican Guard in Cairo, an Egyptian Health Ministry official has said.

Khaled el-Khatib said initial reports indicated that 34 people were killed and 300 others injured in shooting outside the building.

Earlier, Egyptian military officials said gunmen killed at least five supporters of former president Mohammed Morsi and one officer when people tried to storm the building.

A spokesman for Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood and a witness at the scene said military forces opened fire at dawn on protesters staging a sit-in outside the Republican Guard building. The different accounts could not be reconciled.

Satellite broadcaster Al-Jazeera showed footage from a nearby field hospital of at least six bodies laid out on the ground, some with severe wounds. A medic from the area, Hesham Agami, said ambulances were unable to transport more than 200 wounded to hospitals because the military had blocked off the roads.

Al-Shaimaa Younes, who was at the sit-in, said military troops and police forces opened fire on the protesters during early morning prayers.

"They opened fire with live ammunition and lobbed tear gas," she said by telephone. "There was panic and people started running. I saw people fall."

Women and children were among the protesters, she said.

Morsi supporters have been holding rallies and a sit-in outside the Republican Guard building since the military deposed the president during massive protests against him.

The military chief replaced Mr Morsi with an interim leader, until presidential elections are held. But his supporters refuse to recognise the interim leader and insist Mr Morsi be reinstated. Besides the Republican Guard sit-in, they are also holding thousands-strong daily rallies at a nearby mosque.

Mr Morsi's opponents are also holding rival rallies. They say the former president lost his legitimacy by mismanaging the country and not ruling democratically, leading to a mass revolt which called on the army to push him from office.

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