Death toll in Egypt's clashes rises to 32

Cairo, July 6 (IANS) At least 32 people were killed and more than 1,100 injured overnight in Egypt during clashes between opponents and supporters of deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, officials said Saturday.

"Thirty-two people were killed and 1,138 were injured in Friday's clashes in 19 governorates, of whom 1,076 were moved to hospitals," Mohamed Sultan, head of the Egyptian Ambulance Organization, told Xinhua.

According to the health ministry, seven people were killed in the capital Cairo and 12 in Alexandria. Hundreds were injured in violence across the country.

The nationwide turmoil was sparked by a statement by the armed forces ousting the Islamist-oriented president Morsi Wednesday in response to massive protests demanding his removal.

Islamist supporters of Morsi rejected the ouster as "a military coup" and vowed to struggle for "Morsi's legitimacy."

On Friday evening, clashes erupted between Morsi supporters and opponents when crowds of pro-Morsi protesters marched to the Oct 6 Bridge near Tahrir Square on their way to the state TV building to protest against the ouster of Morsi.

They were confronted by Morsi's opponents who have been celebrating his removal.

In the early hours of Saturday, unknown militants attacked three checkpoints and the central security forces in Arish city in North Sinai.

On Thursday, hundreds of gunmen attacked Arish Airport, a security camp in Rafah, a police station and two security checkpoints in Sheikh Zewaid with heavy artillery and RPGs in North Sinai, leaving a soldier dead.

The continuous one-million-man protests in all Egyptian governorates are "the practical path to preserve the gains of the second wave of the Egyptian revolution", said a statement.

Opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei, nominated to a vice president post, said Saturday that "affiliation to the Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails, isn't a crime, and the army intervention was the less painful alternative.

"The other option was a civil war," ElBaradei told the London-based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper, adding it wasn't a military coup.

ElBaradei added that a series of arrests were precautionary and security procedures to avoid inciting violence, asserting that Morsi was treated in a very gentle way by the security forces when detained.

He added that a decision to shut down religious channels was based on charges of inciting violence, adding that big quantities of weapon were seized from such channels.

On Wednesday, the army announced it was ousting Morsi and appointing Adli Mansour, head of the Supreme Constitutional Court, as interim president during the transitional period.

Since then, Muslim Brotherhood's leading figures have been arrested.

General-Prosecutor Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud ordered a travel ban on the ousted president and other 35 Muslim Brotherhood figures over charges of killing protestors.

Islamist Sharia Supporters group said the army intervention to oust the "legitimate" president was "a war against Islam", calling, in a statement on its website, for "using violence to impose Sharia (Islamic rules)."

"The army's intervention to oust our president, closure of Islamic channels and killing Islamist protesters are a war against Islam in Egypt," it said.

The statement blamed the latest events on liberals and armed forces. It also condemned democracy and called for enforcing the Sharia rules.


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