Five people including an Egyptian woman journalist were killed in Cairo as police clashed with Islamists protesting against ex-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s presidency bid, the interior ministry said.
The violence erupted on Friday in a deeply polarised Egypt as supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi took to the streets of Cairo, Alexandria and other cities to vent their anger at Sisi who overthrew the Islamist leader nine months ago.
Mayada Ashraf, who worked for privately owned Al-Dustour newspaper and freelanced for news website Masr Alarabia, was shot in the head while covering clashes in the northern neighbourhood of Ein Shams, a security official said. Four more people were killed in the same violence and 11 others wounded by birdshot and live ammunition, the interior ministry said.
It said 79 Morsi supporters were arrested nationwide in possession of Molotov cocktails and fireworks. In her last report published on Al-Dustour website, Ashraf said the clashes were pitting Morsi supporters against civilian opponents, adding the two sides traded fire with live ammunition and birdshot.
It was unclear when her report was filed during the clashes, in which police later intervened. A colleague from Masr Alarabia who was with her told AFP they split up as police clashed with protesters, and they went in different directions. “I later called her telephone to check up on her but a protester answered, and said she had died with a bullet to the head,” Mohamed Rabie said.
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Rabie said the protesters carried her corpse to a nearbymosque, where he found it. The interior ministry blamed the killings on Morsi supporters, saying armed protesters opened fire at random. One victim, another woman, was stabbed to death, the ministry spokesman said. But protester Galal Ali told AFP that it was police who fired at the crowd as demonstrators were about to disperse. Nineteen people were wounded nationwide, four in the northern province of Damietta and 15 in Cairo, health ministry official Khaled al-Khatib said.