CAIRO - One Muslim Brotherhood member was shot dead and at least 11 people wounded in Egypt on Tuesday, security sources said, with the Islamist group accusing plain clothes police of firing on their march.
The killing could harden the standoff between the Brotherhood, which is demanding the reinstatement of deposed Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, and the army-backed government.
opponents of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi battled in downtown
Cairo's streets on Tuesday, hurling rocks at each other as police fired
volleys of tear gas. In the Sinai town of Al-Arish, three bombs
exploded as the military continued operations against terrorists and
tunnels to Gaza. No injuries were reported.
A military source
said that all the tunnels near Rafah have been destroyed or are under
military control, according to the Egypt Independent. The army is
gaining valuable intelligence on the jihadists from interrogations held
with captured fighters, according to the source.
erupted as a proposal by al-Azhar, Egypt's leading religious authority,
to bring together adversaries in the political crisis appeared to inch
The Nour Party, the second biggest Islamist group,
forecast that Al-Azhar-backed talks would happen very soon, while
Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood signaled it was ready to take part as long as
they were on the right terms.
But the clashes showed the country was still dangerously divided
six weeks after the army overthrew Morsi. Brotherhood protest camps at
Cairo's al-Nahda Square and around Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque are the
immediate focus of the crisis. Morsi supporters stood their ground
behind barricades on Tuesday while Egypt's interim leaders debated how
to end their sit-in.
No police crackdown appeared imminent
despite frequent warnings from the army-installed government that the
protesters should pack up and leave peacefully. Egypt’s leadership
debated how to deal with the protests and decided to lay siege to the
camp instead of raiding and forcibly removing the protesters.
General Abdel Fattah Othman, the Assistant Minister of Interior
Affairs, Public Relations and Media said that the Ministry of Interior
is ready to disperse the protests, but is giving a chance for efforts
aimed at reaching a political settlement, according to Egypt’s State
The pro-Morsi National Alliance to Support
Legitimacy called for a march on Tuesday titled, “Together against Coup
and Zionism,” according to a report by Ahram Online. The aim of the
anti-Zionism theme was to point to the rumored collaboration between
Egypt and Israeli military forces in the Sinai.
Clashes broke out in central Cairo when a few thousand Morsi supporters marched to the Interior Ministry
residents and shop-workers taunted them, calling them terrorists and
saying they were not welcome. They then threw stones at the marchers,
getting showered back in return.
Some hurled bottles at the Morsi
supporters from balconies. Police then fired tear gas at the
demonstrators. Women and children marchers fled the scene in panic.
The clashes spread to several streets and brought Cairo traffic to a standstill.
Egypt's interim president named at least 18 new provincial governors on
Tuesday, half of them retired generals, in a shake-up that restored the
influence of men from army and police backgrounds and flushed out
Muslim Brotherhood members.
Deposed President Mohamed Morsi had
appointed a number of civilians as provincial governors during his one
year in office. Many of them were members of the Brotherhood. That
marked a break with the Hosni Mubarak era, when the posts typically went
to retired army and police officers.
Brotherhood and the Salafi Nour party, Egypt's second largest Islamist
party, both suggested on Tuesday they would be willing to join a meeting
called by al-Azhar, whose initiative is the only known effort to end
the crisis peacefully following the collapse of international mediation
"If they stick to the rules we're asking for, yes,"
Brotherhood spokesman Gehad el-Haddad said, adding that talks must be
based on the "restoration of constitutional legitimacy".
Brotherhood would oppose proposals made by al-Azhar's Grand Sheikh Ahmed
el-Tayeb, because he had supported the army's overthrow of Mursi,
Haddad said. But he said there had been contacts with other al-Azhar
Nour Party head Younes Makhyoun said his party had been invited to the al-Azhar talks.
the noble al-Azhar is trying to bring together for discussions those
who have drawn up initiatives to agree, for example, on one initiative
and vision, which we will use to pressure all the parties, so they
accept it," he told Reuters.
The effort, however, was being complicated by the friction between the Brotherhood and al-Azhar, he said.
government has its own plan for elections in nine months, but for now
it is wrestling with the difficult issue of how to tackle the protest
Some officials wish to avoid a bloody showdown, which
would damage the government's efforts to present itself as legitimate,
while hardliners in the army and security forces fear they are losing
face to the Brotherhood and want to move in.
More than 300 people
have already died in political violence since Mursi's overthrow on July
3, including dozens of his supporters killed by security forces in two
The state-run al-Ahram newspaper reported
that after a National Security Council meeting late on Monday, security
forces were likely to cordon off the camps rather than take a more
forceful approach that could lead to bloodshed.
A senior security source told al-Ahram that security had been bolstered around the camps to prevent weapons getting in.
Brotherhood politician Farid Ismail said he did not expect the Interior
Ministry to break up the encampments by force because of the likely
"It would be a big crime in addition to the crimes
already committed, because it will result in a great cost in terms of
massacres and dead," he said. "There are very large numbers, complete
families, men, wives, children."
Also on Tuesday, a court set
Sept. 7 as the start of another case brought against Mursi's allies,
including prominent politician Mohamed el-Beltagi, on charges of
kidnapping and torturing two members of the security forces.