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Morsi held over Hamas links; 2 die in clashes

The clashes broke out Friday,a day when rival rallies were being held across Egypt

Written by Associated Press | Cairo | Published: July 27, 2013 1:09:30 am

An Egyptian health ministry official said two protesters were killed in clashes between supporters and opponents of the country’s ousted president in the coastal city of Alexandria,even as prosecutors opened an investigation of Mohammed Morsi on charges including murder and conspiracy with the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

The clashes broke out Friday,a day when rival rallies were being held across Egypt. The country’s army chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi called for rallies to give him a mandate to stop “violence and terrorism”. The supporters of Morsi,the first democratically elected president removed by el-Sissi early this month,also held rallies Friday.

Friction started outside a major mosque in Alexandria,as the two sides exchanged stones and fired birdshots. Police and army tried to break up the fighting,lobbying tear gas and deploying soldiers.

Health official Mohammed Abu Suleiman said two were killed and two dozen injured.

Tensions were further fuelled amid a showdown on the streets,as tens of thousands of backers of the military and supporters of Morsi held rival mass rallies Friday across Egypt.

The announcement,likely to pave the way to a formal indictment,was the first word on Morsi’s legal status since the military deposed him on July 3. For more than three weeks,the Islamist leader has been held by the military in a secret location,incommunicado.

The accusations are connected to a prison break during the 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak in which gunmen attacked a prison northwest of Cairo,freeing prisoners including Morsi and 30 other figures from his Muslim Brotherhood. The prosecutors allege Morsi and the Brotherhood worked with Hamas to carry out the break,in which 14 guards were killed.

The Brotherhood has denied the charges,calling them politically motivated. On Friday,a spokesman for Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood said the move to prosecute Morsi showed “the complete bankruptcy of the leaders of the bloody coup”.

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