Deadly clashes in Egypt as Morsi held on murder suspicion

Updated 12 August 2013
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Deadly clashes in Egypt as Morsi held on murder suspicion

CAIRO: Egypt Friday formally detained Muhammad Mursi for allegedly abetting Palestinian militants in murdering policemen and staging prison breaks, as clashes between the deposed leader’s supporters and opponents killed two people.
Mursi’s detention, under a court order for a renewable 15 days, further raised tensions as those applauding the decision and those demanding the Islamist leader’s reinstatement flooded parts of Cairo and other cities.
Two people were killed in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria in clashes between the rivals protesters, despite a massive police and military deployment to secure the rallies.
The Arab world’s most populous country has been convulsed by violence for the past three weeks, with some 200 people killed since Mursi’s ouster by the army on July 3, many in clashes between his Islamist supporters and his opponents.
At least 19 people were wounded in the Alexandria violence, in which riot police intervened. Ten people were wounded in clashes in Cairo, medical officials and the health ministry said.
The overwhelming number of Friday’s marches have remained peaceful, with thousands of Mursi’s supporters gathering in a north Cairo square before setting off through the streets.
At Cairo’s Tahrir Square, tens of thousands of anti-Mursi supporters gathered in response to a call by the army chief General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi on Egyptians to show their support for a security clampdown on “terrorism.”
The protesters waved Egyptian flags and held up posters of Sisi, who served as Mursi’s defense minister before ousting him.
A leader of Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood, Essam Al-Erian, said in a statement Islamists would respond to the detention of their leader with “peaceful marches.”
The Brotherhood however reacted angrily to his detention order, saying it smacked of tactics used by the regime of Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s long-time strongman toppled in a popular uprising in 2011.
The accusations against Mursi include conspiring with Palestinian Hamas militants in attacks that killed policemen and prison breaks during the revolt against Mubarak, in which Mursi escaped along with other political inmates.
Mursi had been detained with other Muslim Brotherhood leaders overnight on January 27, 2011, hours after the Islamist group said it would join the revolt against Mubarak.
He is also accused of “premeditated murder of some prisoners, officers and soldiers, and kidnapping officers and soldiers,,” the state news agency MENA said.
Mursi is also suspected of conspiring to “storm prisons and destroy them... allowing prisoners to escape, including himself.”
Detention orders of the type ordered by the court are usually followed by moving the suspect to a prison. The military has so far kept his whereabouts secret to avoid attracting protests by his supporters.
Gehad El-Haddad, a Brotherhood spokesman, denounced the detention order, saying Mubarak’s regime was “signalling ‘we’re back in full force’.”
A court had on June 23 said Hamas militants facilitated the escape of prisoners during the tumultuous 18-day uprising that forced out Mubarak.
Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood which supports the Gaza militant group’s fight against Israel, also denounced Mursi’s detention.
“Hamas condemns this move since it is based on the premise that the Hamas movement is hostile,” spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP.


War fears mount despite cease-fire between Gaza and Israel

Updated 22 July 2018
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War fears mount despite cease-fire between Gaza and Israel

  • Any further escalation will deepen humanitarian catastrophe in the Strip: UN chief
  • Before the truce, Israel unleashed an offensive it says destroyed more than 60 Hamas targets, including three battalion headquarters

GAZA CITY: After seven chaotic and violent hours, quiet returned to the Gaza Strip Friday night. Yet on Saturday, civilians in the Palestinian enclave and Israel remained fearful of the potential for a new war.
The fatal shooting by a Palestinian sniper of an Israeli soldier during protests along the border on Friday sparked a widespread wave of Israeli bombing, with three fighters from Hamas killed and dozens of targets struck.
After intensive indirect mediation by the UN and Egypt, a truce came into force at midnight, yet both populations remained on high alert of another all-out conflict between Israel and Hamas.
“War is coming. I know that the (Israeli) occupation is carrying out raids to pave the way with their home base,” Somaya Rabaya, 21, from Deir Al-Balah in central Gaza, said.
While the cease-fire deal included an end to rockets and mortars, it didn’t include a commitment by Hamas to stop what Israeli media have dubbed “terror kites,” a senior Hamas source said.
In a brief statement on Saturday, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said the movement accepted the cease-fire brokered by Egyptian and UN officials and that calm had been restored. Later, the Israeli military announced a return to civilian routine along the volatile border.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “gravely concerned” about the escalation and called on both sides to step back from the prospect of another devastating conflict. “Any further escalation will endanger the lives of Palestinians and Israelis alike, deepen the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza and undermine current efforts to improve livelihoods,” he said.
On Saturday morning in Gaza, 17-year-old Wissam was with a number of other youths fitting kites with small bottles full of diesel, while sheltering behind a sandbank for fear of Israeli strikes. “This morning, they bombed a Hamas observation post near here. I was afraid they would hit us with a missile,” he said.
Israel says it has no interest is engaging in another war with Hamas, but says it will no longer tolerate the Gaza militant campaign of flying the incendiary devices into Israel.
On Friday, Israel unleashed an offensive it says destroyed more than 60 Hamas targets, including three battalion headquarters.
“The attack delivered a severe blow to the Hamas’ training array, command and control abilities, weaponry, aerial defense and logistic capabilities along with additional military infrastructure,” the Israeli military said in a statement, adding that the strikes “will intensify as necessary.”