Barely a week after the military overthrew egyptian president mohammed mursi, violence escalates. At least 51 people were killed and 435 others wounded in clashes between islamists and the militar in cairo on monday, according to officials. The militar said gunmen had tried to storm the republican guard officers’ club. Earlier there had been rumors in cairo that mursi could be there. The muslim brotherhood, however, spoke of attacks on peaceful demonstrators at morning prayers.
"Protesters first threw stones, then fired shots at the guards of the military facility", a police spokesman said at a press conference in cairo. The attackers had carried firearms and incendiary devices, among other things. Three security officers were killed and eight others wounded. The use of force by security forces was appropriate.
The muslim brotherhood gave a different account of the incident. Police and army had tried to break up a sit-in by mursi supporters with violence, spokesman gehad al-haddad said. "They shot at people who were praying, who had bowed their heads in prayer, their backs turned to the army they trusted." The political arm of the organization, the freedom and justice party, called on the people of agypt for an "uprising against those who "want to steal your revolution with tanks".
Transitional president adli mansur expressed his "deep sorrow" about the bloodshed. A judicial commission will investigate the incident. Prosecutor’s office also launched investigation.
The formation of the government in the most populous arab country was allowed to drag on. The islamist salafists withdrew from negotiations on the country’s political future. The spokesman for the nur party (party of light), nader al-bakkar, said on twitter that his ultra-conservative organization had agreed to take part in the talks to prevent bloodshed. "Now the blood flows in streams", he said.
Nobel peace prize winner and leading opposition activist against mursi, mohammed elbaradei, called for an independent investigation into the events. "Violence breeds counter-violence and should be strongly condemned", he warned via the short message service twitter. A peaceful transition is the only way forward for egypt. The grand sheikh of al-azhar university, ahmed al-tajjib, said he would retire to retreat until the bloody violence in the country ceases.
Internationally, the recent riots caused grave concern. Minister guido westerwelle expressed his dismay on the outbreak of violence. All those responsible now had to act calmly and refrain from "violence in any form" renounce.
The british minister william hague said: "it is important that a return to democratic processes takes place in agypt quickly." Turkish auben minister ahmet davutoglu tweeted: "i convey my condolences to the agyptian brother people."
According to military reports, two soldiers were temporarily abducted by suspected islamists. According to army sources, the men were dragged into a vehicle, beaten and forced to shout anti-military and pro-mursi slogans over a loudspeaker.
In cairo, a german correspondent for the news channel n-tv and his team were detained for hours by security forces. Reporter dirk emmerich tweeted about his release: "after seven hours in custody by army, then police. No reason given for arrest."
The federal government now strongly advises all german tourists against nile cruises because of the latest development in egypt. The foreign office also "urgently" recommended in its latest travel advice, avoid the tourist centers of luxor and assuan.