Egypt clashes: 11 killed in Cairo clashes between supporters and opponents of ousted leader Mohamed Morsi

 

The death toll from two days of clashes between supporters and opponents of the ousted president rose to 11, most killed in pre-dawn street battles near a pro-Mohamed Morsi protest camp as the country remained mired in deadly turmoil three weeks after the military overthrew the Islamist leader.

The bloodshed is widening the divisions between Morsi's supporters and the military-backed administration that took over after he was toppled and diminishing the chances of reconciliation. Fuelling the anger is the continued detention of Morsi, the country's first freely elected leader, who has been held incommunicado and without charge.

Violence has frequently broken out amid persistent rival demonstrations between the two sides, but the running street battles that began before dawn were among the most intense since the crisis began on July 3.

Clashes broke out after Morsi supporters began marching from their sit-in outside the main campus of Cairo university to a nearby mosque. The protesters blocked roads, causing massive traffic jams and angering residents.

Security officials said the fighting turned deadly after masked gunmen appeared at the scene and started shooting at the Morsi supporters with live ammunition and birdshot. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information, had no word on the identity of the gunmen.

The Muslim Brotherhood, however, blamed the killings on "thugs" sponsored by the Interior Ministry, a charge the Islamist group from which Morsi hails often uses to dismiss the notion that it was at odds with other segments of the population.

Khaled el-Khateeb, who heads the Health Ministry's emergency and intensive care department, said six people were killed near the pro-Morsi sit-in. The security officials put the casualty toll at seven killed and 11 injured.

AP

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