Egypt: Son of top Muslim Brotherhood leader killed

By Tony G. Gabriel

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, Aug. 17 2013 8:28 a.m. MDT

Egyptians security forces provide a cordon around the al-Fatah mosque, after hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters barricaded themselves inside the mosque overnight, following a day of fierce street battles that left scores of people dead, near Ramses Square in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013. Authorities say police in Cairo are negotiating with people barricaded in a mosque and promising them safe passage if they leave. Muslim Brotherhood supporters of Egypt's ousted Islamist president are vowing to defy a state of emergency with new protests today, adding to the tension.

Hussein Tallal, Associated Press

CAIRO — Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood said Saturday that a son of its spiritual leader was killed during fierce clashes in downtown Cairo, as hundreds of Islamists supporters of the country's ousted president remained barricaded inside a mosque.

The group's political arm, the Freedom and Justice party, said on its official website that Mohammed Badie's son Ammar was killed Friday. That's when the Muslim Brotherhood took to the streets in a "Day of Rage" — ignited by anger at security forces over clearing two sit-in camps protesting the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi, leaving hundreds dead.

The death toll in Friday's clashes rose Saturday to 173 people killed nationwide, said Shereef Shawki, a spokesman for Egypt's Cabinet. He said 1,330 people were wounded in the fighting.

Since Wednesday, the day authorities cleared the sit-in camps, 57 police officers have been killed while 563 have been wounded, Shawki said.

Egypt's Interior Ministry said in a statement that a total of 1,004 Brotherhood members were detained in raids across the country and that weapons, bombs and ammunition were confiscated with the detainees.

The Muslim Brotherhood-led anti-military coalition has called for a week of protests, further escalating unrest in the country. The coalition says that they won't back down until it topples the government installed by the military — which overthrow Morsi on July 3.

Meanwhile, hundreds remained inside the al-Fatah mosque in Cairo on Saturday morning after barricading themselves inside overnight. They shoved furniture against the doors to stop police from breaking their way in.

A post on the Facebook page of the army spokesman, Col. Mohammed Ali, accused gunmen of firing from the mosque at nearby buildings, located at Ramses Square in central Cairo. The upper floors of a commercial building towering over Ramses Square caught fire during the mayhem, with flames engulfing it for hours.

A Muslim cleric, Sheik Abdel-Hafiz el-Maslami, told The Associated Press that people are afraid to leave the mosque out of fear of detention or being assaulted by the crowd outside. He said there were armed men inside the mosque at one point but protesters forced them out.

"We lost control over things," the cleric said. "There were men with arms in the mosque who were forced out of the mosque but we can't control things here."

He said there were ongoing negotiations with the military to have protesters safely leave. State television showed small groups emerging from the mosque by late morning Saturday.

However, local journalist Shaimaa Awad trapped with the Islamists said talks failed after three women were detained by military after agreeing to get out early this morning. An AP reporter said that thousands of anti-Islamist protesters rallied outside the mosque, chanting: "God take revenge on Morsi and those standing behind him!"

Army tanks and soldiers closed off main entrances of Ramses Square as soldiers sealed off the place with barbed wire.

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