Egypt's Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya calls for end to turmoil after 'massacre'

Ahram Online , Saturday 27 Jul 2013

Hardline Islamist group remains committed to peaceful opposition, according to a Saturday statement

A supporter of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi tries to take cover as a police officer uses a shotgun during clashes in Nasr city area, east of Cairo July 27, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt's ultraconservative Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya group has condemned the deadly violence between supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and security forces early Saturday, which claimed dozens of lives.

The group has described the violence as "a hideous massacre against peaceful, unarmed protesters."

Egypt saw a night of deadly clashes between loyalists of Egypt's toppled Islamist leader and security forces on the fringe of a longstanding pro-Morsi vigil in northern Cairo.

The Muslim Brotherhood, the group which propelled Morsi to power, claimed 120 people had been killed and some 4,500 wounded. However, the health ministry has put the death toll lower, at 38. Conflicting reports on the numbers killed and injured are still coming in from medics.

Egypt's Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim has blamed the Islamist group for the violence and said the police used teargas to disperse the protesters from the 6 October Bridge. Ibrahim denied that the police had used live ammunition or birdshot against protesters.

Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya – a close ally of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood – urged "rational" Egyptians and rights groups to condemn the "criminal act" and to "work to curb the bloodletting of demonstrators [who] demand a return to legitimacy."

In a Saturday statement, the Islamist movement reiterated calls for all factions to endorse a plan to rein in deepening turmoil and "infighting" in the country.

It has also pledged to abide by peaceful means in its opposition to what it described as a "bloody coup" by Egypt's army against the country's first democratically elected president.

Egypt has been rocked by unrest since the ouster of Morsi on 3 July, following nationwide protests against his rule. Scores have been killed and hundreds wounded in violence between rival factions in the weeks since the change of government.

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