Clashes continue in Egypt's Mahalla and Kafr El-Sheikh

Ahram Online , Sunday 23 Jun 2013

A 12-year-old boy was shot in the head in Mahalla during clashes between pro- and anti-Morsi groups

Nile Delta unrest
Shops set on fire in Egypt's Kafr El-Sheikh (Photo: Ahram Arabic news website)

Increasing tensions between supporters and opponents of President Mohamed Morsi have led to clashes in a number of Egyptian cities.

A 12-year-old boy, Al-Said Gamal, was shot in the head during clashes between supporters and opponents of the beleaguered president in the Nile Delta city of Mahalla late on Saturday. He remains in critical condition, a security source told Ahram Online.

Reports varied as to how the clashes started. Ahram’s Arabic language website reported that bearded men fired rounds of live ammunition in the air to disperse an anti-Morsi protest endorsing a call for snap presidential polls in El-Banzioun Square when Gamal was shot.

London-based daily Al-Hayat, however, reported that an argument broke out between Nour Party supporters and opponents of the government, leading Nour supporters to take shelter inside their local party office, which was then besieged by.the anti-Morsi group, who threw Molotov cocktails and ransacked the building.

Another person was reported to have been critically wounded in the Mahalla clashes, although no further details were available.

Many other cities have seen growing unrest between opponents and supporters of the Islamist president in the run-up to mass anti-government protests on 30 June.

In the neighbouring Kafr El-Sheikh governorate, a group of infuriated opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood late on Saturday set ablaze a number of shops believed to belong to Brotherhood supporters, as tension between rival camps continued to mount.

The incident was reportedly triggered by an attack on a member of the opposition Egyptian Popular Current, Mohamed El-Shaboury, by a group of Brotherhood members in the city of Fowa, according to MENA state news agency.

El-Shaboury was reported to have been critically injured.

Mohamed Shaheen, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, claimed in a report he filed that government opponents initiated the violence when they attacked three shops belonging to members of the Islamist group in Kafr El-Sheikh on Friday.

Assailants wielding bladed weapons also clashed with Brotherhood members at the Abdullah Al-Emary Mosque and outside the residence of another leading member of the group, Mahmoud El-Saiedy, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) Kafr El-Sheikh secretary-general Ragab El-Banna was quoted as saying.

Tension in the city has escalated since an anti-Brotherhood conference convened there on Friday, attended by a number of opposition activists and former MPs including Mostafa Bakry. Thousands of local residents took part in the event.

In addition, the FJP said on Saturday that a member of hardline Islamist group Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya died from gunshot wounds in Egypt's central Fayoum governorate, blaming the opposition.

The FJP said in a statement that Mohamed Said El-Shalakany, 35, was shot by "thugs" from the opposition coalition the National Salvation Front (NSF) and proponents of the anti-Morsi Rebel campaign, during a rally supporting the president on 16 June. Another Brotherhood member was quoted blaming remnants of the former regime for the attack.

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