Fifteen killed in street vendor fight in Cairo

 

A street brawl in central Cairo left at least 15 people dead on Monday night – including 13 who were reportedly burned alive inside a shop.

The fighting, which is not thought to have been related to the ongoing political crisis, erupted during a row between street vendors about space for their stalls.

According to initial reports, guns and knives were used during the brawl. Two people died of stab wounds and gunshots. Another 13 were killed when the shop they took refuge in was torched.

One source said the clashes broke out between street vendors and shop owners in the Muski area of Old Cairo. After the blaze began to take hold, firefighters arrived at the scene accompanied by security forces.

The bodies of 13 people were found inside the remains of a shop. Several locals were then arrested by police.

Monday night’s deaths came as the political standoff between the Muslim Brotherhood and its political opponents showed no sign of easing.

The Islamist group’s leaders are still refusing to engage with the transitional government, saying they will return to the fray only when Mohamed Morsi is returned as president.

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton was yesterday negotiating a deal between the Brotherhood and Egypt’s rulers.

But neither side was showing any signs of backing down. Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad said: “We are going to increase the protest.”

Mohamed Badr, leader of the youth movement which spearheaded the toppling of Mohamed Morsi, said: “We asked her [Ashton], would you accept an armed sit-in under your roof?”

Repeating the military line which has sought to blur the distinction between the Brotherhood and terrorist groups, he said: “What if al-Qa’ida had a sit-in in a European country? Would you leave it be?”

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