Al-Nour salafist party spokesman Nader Bakar (photoAL-Ahram)
The Salafist Nour Party deny they were officially present at the ongoing sit-in outside the Ministry Of Defence during Wednesday's bloody clashes and criticised the ruling military council for not intervening, in an exclusive interview with Ahram Online Thursday.
Hundreds have been camping in the Abbasiya district for the past week citing various grievances including the ban on Salafist presidential contender Hazem Saleh Abu-Ismail and the ruling military council's handling of the country.
The sit-in was attacked in the early hours of Wednesday morning by unknown armed assailants leaving over seven dead and more than 90 injured, according the Ministry of Health.
The spokesman of the Salafist Nour party's Supreme Committee, Nadar Bakkar, told Ahram Online that they denounced the killings and criticised the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) for failing to stop the bloodshed.
"We refused to meet with the SCAF given their poor handling of the crisis," Bakkar added before demanding an immediate end to the violence.
Emad El-Din Abdel-Ghafour, the leader of ultra conservative Islamist group, sent party affiliates to the scene of the conflict to try and resolve matters on Wednesday, whilst offering his condolences to the families of the bereaved.
"We call upon protestors to leave Abbasiya and return to Tahrir in order to prevent further chaos and bloodshed. Tahrir is now the symbolic place for revolt," Bakkar affirmed.
Bakkar denied that the Nour Party was present when the clashes started, "whenever we are in a location we always announce our presence."
According to the Salafist political party the fighting was initiated by local residents, allies of the SCAF, who want to delay the presidential elections and to attack supporters of banned Salafist presidential contender Hazem Abu-Ismail.
"I wish to clarify Abu-Ismail supporters are not linked to Al-Nour," Bakkar claimed.
Although Abu-Ismail was previously the favourite of the younger members of the Salafist party, it seems clear that the Islamist political party now wish to now disassociate themselves from his diehard supporters.