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42 dead in violence in Egyptian capital: Health Ministry


20:49, July 08, 2013

CAIRO, July 8 (Xinhua) -- At least 42 people were killed Monday in clashes outside a military facility in the Egyptian capital of Cairo, the Health Ministry told Xinhua.

The dead were supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) said in a statement, accusing the security forces of firing at the protesters at dawn outside the headquarters of the Republican Guard in Cairo's Nasr City, at which Morsi is reportedly detained.

However, the army said they were only responding after being attacked.

"Morsi's supporters were praying while the police and army fired live rounds and tear gas at them," said the MB, from which Morsi hails.

For its part, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the political wing of the MB, said the incident was a "human massacre" against peaceful citizens who protested against "a military coup" which ousted the elected president last week.

On Wednesday, the army ousted Morsi after millions of people took to the streets to protest against the Islamist-oriented president's "poor performance" since he came to power a year ago.

The FJP then urged for "an uprising by the great people of Egypt against those trying to steal their revolution with tanks."

However, state-run Nile TV quoted a source close to the army as saying that there was video footage recorded by soldiers showing that it was the supporters of Morsi who attacked them first, and they were forced to fire back under the threat of murder.

"We managed to flee, after being attacked by Morsi's supporters with weapons," one of the soldiers said, adding that "they forced us to use the loudspeaker to insult the army in word."

Earlier, at 4:00 a.m. local time (0200 GMT), the armed forces said in an official statement that a terrorist armed group had attempted to break into the Republican Guard headquarters.

The group attacked that armed forces and civilians, leaving one officer dead and 40 recruits wounded, six of whom in serious condition, said the army.

The armed forces have managed to arrest some 200 people, and found huge quantities of ammunition, weapons and Molotov cockatiels in their possession. Meanwhile, the prosecution on Monday ordered to close the MB's main headquarters in Cairo as the place was confirmed to be full of weapons.


Upon the death of Morsi's supporters on Monday, ultra- conservative Salafist Al-Nour Party, former ally of the MB, decided to withdraw from talks with the government.

Nader Bakkar, spokesperson of the party, on his Facebook page termed the incident as "massacre," saying that "We join the armed forces roadmap to safe blood, but now the blood is shedding."

The Al-Nour Party has agreed with the roadmap of the army, which was put forward when Morsi was removed, but refused to accept liberal opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei as interim prime minister.

In the face of opposition, Adli Mansour, who has been sworn in as the country's interim president, on Sunday recommended ElBaradei as vice president and financial expert Ziad Bahaa-Eddin as temporary prime minister.

For his part, ElBaradei said after the Monday incident that violence is not the way, whatever its source is, and it should be condemned by all forces. He urged via his Twitter account for an immediate and independent investigation of the incident, saying that "Egypt now is in bad need for reconciliation."

Hours earlier, the MB announced that it was willing to accept initiatives for national reconciliation on the condition of Morsi' s return.

"The group is willing to accept the initiatives provided by sincere people who call for the return of complete legitimacy, including the president, the (suspended) constitution and the ( dismantled) Shura Council," the group said in a statement.

After Morsi's return, the statement continues, the president would run a national dialogue over disputed issues "to avoid bloodshed of the Egyptian people and to get the country out of the dark tunnel."

"The group will not compromise legitimacy and will not accept an alternative," the statement said, warning that the MB's members were willing to sacrifice more for Morsi and his legitimacy.

Meanwhile, in a statement, Al-Azhar, Egypt's premier religious institution, urged the state authorities to immediately uncover the truth about the incident at dawn Monday, warning against the spread of sedition in the country, official news agency MENA reported.

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