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Egyptian forces said to surround mosque filled with protesters

August 16, 2013|By Raja Abdulrahim
  • A family member of a supporter of deposed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi killed during fighting with Egyptian security forces sits in the Fatih mosque in Cairo on Friday.
A family member of a supporter of deposed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi… (Ed Giles / Getty Images )

CAIRO -- The military and police have surrounded a mosque where those injured and killed in the Ramses Square protests were taken, those inside the mosque say.

Almost 2,000 people were still inside the Fatih mosque when the authorities surrounded it about midnight Friday, said Dr. Ibrahim Al Yamani, who was in charge of documenting the casualties. They included women, children and dozens of injured. Four of the bodies were also still inside, he said.

Using a loudspeaker, one of the security forces told them the women and children could be evacuated and then all the men would be arrested, Al Yamani said. Those inside refused the offer.

The standoff comes hours after more than 60 people were killed when police attacked a protest against the military. The protest was also in response to Wednesday's crackdown, in which more than 600 people were slain when security forces dispersed two encampments supporting ousted President Mohamed Morsi.

Wednesday was the bloodiest day in Egypt's unrest and many of those who came out in protest after Friday prayers said they were doing so because of the bloodshed earlier in the week.

Friday night, state media reported that there were armed men inside the mosque.

On Thursday night, police surrounded another house of worship, the Iman mosque, which had been turned into a makeshift morgue for those killed in Rabaa, and fired tear gas before storming it, according to news reports.

Al Yamani said that state media reports he had seen said the mosque was being burned down.

“So I am afraid that they are going to do with us what they did to Rabaa mosque and burn all of us inside,” he said referring to the burned and gutted mosque at the site of the six-week sit-in that was forcefully cleared  Wednesday.

Dr. Abeer Ali left the mosque about an hour before the forces surrounded it and was at a nearby hospital.

"This could go on till the morning or they might arrest some of them," she said. "We don't know what is going to happen."


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Raja Abdulrahim

Twitter: @RajaAbdulrahim

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