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22 Jul, 2013 16:13

9 dead, dozens injured in clashes between pro- and anti-Morsi rallies in Cairo

9 dead, dozens injured in clashes between pro- and anti-Morsi rallies in Cairo

Nine have been reported dead with a further 33 injured as supporters and opponents of the ousted President Morsi clashed in Cairo. Police used tear gas in an attempt to restore order, witnesses said.

Six people have been killed in the violence near the Muslim Brotherhood protest at Cairo University, the state run Al-Ahram newspaper's website reported, quoting Health Ministry official Khaled al-Khateeb. A further 33 protesters were injured, according to al-Khateeb. 

At the same time, the Muslim Brotherhood claimed on its website a total of seven "martyrs" had been killed overnight in two separate clashes between Morsi’s supporters and opponents. One protest unfolded at Cairo University while another took place near a bigger sit-in demonstration in the north of the city.

Earlier, Emergency Services chief Mohammed Sultan told AFP that the wounded had mainly suffered from birdshot-inflicted wounds.

The two groups directed fireworks and lobbed rocks at each other as the violent conflict escalated. Police confiscated two guns from Morsi supporters, according to Reuters.

The violence occurred after pro-Morsi supporters reportedly attempted to storm the square after participating in a sit-in at the US embassy just blocks away from the anti-Morsi protest at the square. 

An army officer reported to Ahram Online earlier on Monday that the Tahrir campers had learned of the pro-Morsi rally’s intention to storm the square, and charged in their direction as they approached.

Injured people were taken from the scene of the confrontation via motorbike after organizers of the Tahrir sit-in had previously called on the country's ministry of health to provide ambulances.

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi shout slogans in front of the courthouse and the Attorney General's office during a demonstration in Cairo July 22, 2013 (Reuters / Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

As the clashes gathered momentum, anti-Morsi protest organizers closed Tahrir to car traffic again, only hours after they had opened it. The country’s armed forces blocked all routes into Cairo's Abbasiya district on Monday in order to prevent attempts by the thousands of pro-Morsi supporters to reach the building.

The pro-Morsi supporters have denounced his ousting as a military coup, with many continuing to call for his reinstating. 

The Brotherhood says it will maintain the sit-in until Morsi is restored to power.

"Leaders of the military coup continue to terrorize the peaceful protesters in Egypt,"
the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party said in a statement.

The family of ousted President Mohamed Morsi claimed on Monday that the army abducted the country's leader. 

“We still don’t know where my father is kept,” Morsi’s son Osama Morsi earlier told RT.

In separate clashes which took place in Qaliubiya province, north of Cairo, a 15 year old child died on Monday after being shot in the chest, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic news website. The medical official used as a source by the news outlet said that a further three had been injured in the unrest: two were hit by a train while fleeing the gunfire and one hit by birdshot.

Around a hundred people have died since Morsi's downfall on July 3, the majority being Morsi-affiliated Muslim Brotherhood supporters. Tahrir square has been the scene of several conflicts since his deposition.

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi shout slogans while holding posters of Mursi and copies of the Koran during a protest in Cairo July 22, 2013 (Reuters / Mohamed Abd El Ghany)