Cairo: Mubarak opponent nabbed; clashes injure 23

April 1, 2006 23:36


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The third-place finisher in Egypt's presidential elections last year was arrested Saturday after his supporters clashed with a rival faction of his political party in a fight over the party headquarters that wounded 23 people. Noaman Gomaa, 71, the head of the Wafd Party for the past six years, was detained from the headquarters along with two other party members and four bodyguards after an hours-long seige of the building by the rival faction. The clashes began after Gomaa and his supporters took control of building, then opened fire on supporters of the rival factio who tried to break in, police said. They responded by throwing stones, then about 700 of them broke into the building and surrounded an office where Gomaa had taken refuge with several dozen of his supporters. Gomaa's arrest means both the leading candidates who ran against Mubarak in September presidential elections - Egypt's first opened to multiple candidates - are in custody. The number two finisher in the election, Ayman Nour of the Ghad party, is serving a five-year prison term for forgery, charges he said were trumped up to eliminate him from politics.

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