2 students killed in clashes at Al-Azhar University

Ahram Online, Sunday 30 Mar 2014

Atta Ahmed and Ahmed Abdel-Hafez were shot dead outside the university dormitories in Cairo's Nasr City, according to a student union spokesperson

el azhar
Protesters gather amidst remnants of teargas smoke during clashes with riot police at Al-Azhar University in Cairo October 20, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

Clashes between student protesters and security forces at Cairo's Al-Azhar University on Sunday have left two students dead.

Students Ahmed Abdel-Hafez and Atta Ahmed were shot dead outside the university dormitories, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic news website.

The university administration has called for an urgent investigation into the killing, state news agency MENA reported.

Several students were injured in the violence, with others arrested.

Protesting students torched a police vehicle and assaulted its driver, a security source said.

Earlier in the day, security forces stormed the campus, upon the request of the university administration, to disperse protesting students.

Police used teargas and fired warning shots into the air.

Other students, who have been suspended for "rioting and sabotage during protests" on campus, formed human chains around the administration building with signs reading, "Why am I suspended?"

"The administration has suspended 39 students for periods ranging from one semester to two years," student union spokesperson Ahmed Adel-Saeid said.

Al-Azhar University, the highest seat of Sunni Islamic learning, has been the site of numerous protests since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

Clashes have often broken out between pro-Morsi students and security forces at the university's campuses in Cairo and other cities.

In February, interim authorities issued a decree allowing security forces to enter campuses and granting university administrators the right to expel protesting students.

A number of other universities have witnessed protests, but none as intense as Al-Azhar.

Earlier this month, 16 Al-Azhar students were sentenced to three years in prison for taking part in clashes in December.

In a separate trial, 17 others were sentenced to 14 years in jail on charges of rioting, damaging public property, burning vehicles and attacking security personnel and Al-Azhar staff.


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