File photo: al-Qaeda flag is waved by pro-Morsi supporters during a protest in Cairo (Photo: telegraph.co.uk)
Egypt's Prosecutor General Hesham Barakat has ordered an investigation into an incident at a student-led protest at Cairo's Al-Azhar University, where the black jihadist flag used by groups like Al-Qaeda was raised on top of the university's buildings.
Around 300 students in favour of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi had gathered at the university on Tuesday, according to security forces, which said the students had "caused chaos" and were reported to have displayed the Al-Qaeda flag.
Prosecutors from east Cairo, where the university is located, have been ordered to look into the incident and arrest those who raised the flag.
Security forces stormed Al-Azhar University's campus on Wednesday to disperse students who had gathered for another protest.
Also on Wednesday, reports have emerged that students at Cairo University, in the western part of the city, also raised the Al-Qaeda flag during a protest in the afternoon.
The black flag – inscribed with the Islamic creed, or shahada, professing that there is no god but Allah and that Prophet Mohamed is his messenger – dates back to the third Islamic caliphate of the Abbasids, which enjoyed a 500-year reign from 750 AD until the sacking of Baghdad in 1258 AD by Mongolian forces.
However, starting from 2001, the flag has been appropriated by jihadist groups such as Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) in Syria and Iraq, Somalia's Al-Shabaab and Egypt's Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, which has waged militant operations against security personnel and installations in the Sinai Peninsula and Nile Delta since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last year.