Muslim Brotherhood says leader’s son killed in clashes

Ammar Badie one of 173 fatalities on Egypt’s ‘Day of Rage’; hundreds of Morsi supporters barricaded in Cairo mosque

Egyptians security forces escort an Islamist supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood out of the al-Fatah mosque, after hundreds of Islamist protesters 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 (photo credit: AP/Hussein Tallal)
Egyptians security forces escort an Islamist supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood out of the al-Fatah mosque, after hundreds of Islamist protesters 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 (photo credit: AP/Hussein Tallal)

CAIRO (AP) — 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,38, 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.

Egypt’s Health Ministry said Saturday that 173 people were killed in street violence in Cairo and around the country that accompanied Friday’s demonstrations. Most deaths took place in central Cairo’s Ramses square, which was a focal point of protests.

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.

Muslim Brotherhood supreme leader Mohammed Badie. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)
Muslim Brotherhood supreme leader Mohammed Badie. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)

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.

A government spokesman said interim Egyptian Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi has proposed the legal dissolution of the Muslim Brotherhood and the government is studying the idea.

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.

Egyptian authorities have arrested the brother of al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahri, a security official said Saturday.

He said Mohammed al-Zawahri, leader of the ultraconservative Jihadi Salafist group, was detained at a checkpoint in Giza, the city across the Nile from Cairo.

Mohammed al-Zawahri’s group espouses a hard-line ideology but was not clandestine prior to Egypt’s July 3 coup. He was allied with ousted President Mohammed Morsi, an Islamist, whose supporters are now taking to the streets to protest the killings of its supporters in a security crackdown last week.

The official declined to give further details. He spoke anonymously as he was not authorized to talk to the press.

Authorities said earlier that al-Zawahri had commanded insurgents in Sinai Peninsula.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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