Egypt clashes kill 10 in Islamist pushback

CAIRO (AP) — A Health Ministry official said 10 people have been killed and 210 wounded in clashes around the country involving

opponents and backers of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, as well as security forces.

Khaled el-Khatib, a Health Ministry official, says four people were killed near the Republican Guard building in Cairo, where

troops opened fire on Morsi supporters marching on the building Friday afternoon.

In Cairo, another person was killed in clashes that erupted after nightfall when Islamists attacked Morsi opponents near Tahrir


Four others died in the northern Sinai city of el-Arish, where Islamists stormed the main government building. The 10th was

killed in the southern city of Assiut.

El-Khatib says 210 people nationwide have been wounded.

Enraged Islamists pushed back against the

toppling of Morsi, with tens of thousands of his

supporters marching

in Cairo on Friday to demand the reinstatement of Egypt's first

democratically elected leader. Soldiers fired on protesters,

crowds of Islamists descended on Morsi opponents in stone-throwing

and gun-firing clashes, and armored vehicles deployed on

bridges over the Nile in mayhem that left at least six dead.

In a dramatic appearance — his first since

Morsi's ouster — the supreme leader of the Muslim Brotherhood defiantly

vowed the

president would return. "God make Morsi victorious and bring him

back to the palace," Mohammed Badie proclaimed from a stage

before a crowd of cheering supporters at a Cairo mosque. "We are

his soldiers we defend him with our lives."

Badie addressed the military, saying it was a matter of honor for it to abide by its pledge of loyalty to the president, in

what appeared to be an attempt to pull it away from its leadership that removed Morsi. "Your leader is Morsi ... Return to

the people of Egypt," he said. "Your bullets are not to be fired on your sons and your own people."

After nightfall, moments after Badie's

speech, a large crowed of Islamists surged across 6th October Bridge

over the Nile

toward Tahrir Square, where a giant crowd of Morsi's opponents had

been massed all day. Battles broke out there at near the

neighboring state TV building with gunfire and stone throwing.

A fire burned on the bridge as Islamists sporting makeshift shields and wearing helmets they had brought in preparation traded

stones with their opponents.

"They are firing at us, sons of dogs, where

is the army," one Morsi opponent shouted, as another was brought to

medics with

his jeans soaked in blood from wounds in his legs. Army troops

deployed on another Nile bridge leading into Tahrir, sealing

it off with barbed wire and armored vehicles.

In cities across the country, clashes

erupted as Morsi supporters marched on local government buildings,

battling police or

Morsi opponents. At least six people were killed throughout the

day — four of them in Cairo, with at least 180 wounded, Health

Ministry official Khaled el-Khatib told The Associated Press.

"We are all now afraid for Egypt," Amr Moussa, a former Arab League chief who was a major leader of the opposition to Morsi

during his year in office, said on Al-Hayat TV. "Egypt can't afford to enter into violence or civil war."

But Islamists vowed to show by their numbers

and the turmoil that the military had made a mistake in ousting Morsi

on Wednesday

night after millions of Egyptians poured into streets around the

country for four days this week demanding the Islamist president

go in the biggest rallies the country has seen.

Badie's speech injected a new vehemence into

Morsi's supporters, and the eruption of clashes at multiple locations

soon afterward

suggested a coordinated counter-push against those behind his


"The military got itself in a trap by siding by one side. Now they see the masses in the streets and now they realized that

there are two peoples," Hamada Nassar, a figure from the hard-line former militant group, Gamaa Islamiya, told AP.

As clashes raged Friday night, the military's spokesman warned against "any provocation or contact with groups of peaceful

protests, and those who transgress that will be dealt with complete determination according to the law."

The day's turmoil began in the afternoon when army troops opened fire as hundreds of Morsi supporters marched on the Republican

Guard building in Cairo, where Morsi was staying at the time of his ouster before being taken into military custody at an

unknown location.

The crowd approached a barbed wire barrier

where troops were standing guard around the building. When one person

hung a sign

of Morsi on the barrier, the troops tore it down and told the

crowd to stay back. A protester put up a second sign, and the

soldiers opened fire, according to an Associated Press


One protester was killed, with a gaping,

bleeding wound in the back of his head, while others fell bloodied and

wounded. Witnesses

told to AP Television News at the scene that men in plainclothes

fired the lethal shots.

Protesters pelted the line of troops with

stones, and the soldiers responded with volleys of tear gas. Many of

those injured

had the pockmark wounds typical of birdshot. The BBC's Middle East

editor, Jeremy Bowen, was hit by birdshot in the head as

he covered the clashes. "Am fine," he reported in a tweet.

Three hours later, Badie — who security

officials had previously said was taken into custody soon after Morsi's

removal —

made his appearance before tens of thousands of Islamists massed

at Rabia al-Adawiya Mosque, not far from the Republican Guard


Morsi "is my president and your president and the president of all Egyptians," Badie proclaimed, thrusting his arms in the

air, as a military helicopter circled low overhead.

The grey-haired Badie, the group's "general guide," is a revered figure among the Brotherhood's followers, who swear an oath

of absolute obedience to him — to "hear and obey."

The circumstances of his appearance were a

mystery, however. Security officials had said Badie was taken into

custody Wednesday

night from a villa on the Mediterranean coast and flown to Cairo,

part of a sweep that netted at least five other senior Brotherhood

figures and put around 200 more on wanted lists.

Just before Badie's appearance, the

Brotherhood's political party said on its webpage that he had "been

released." But on

stage, Badie denied he was ever arrested. There was no immediate

explanation by security officials for the circumstances of

his detention and release.

Authorities also announced the release of Saad Katatni, head of the Brotherhood's political arm the Freedom and Justice Party,

as well as one of Badie's deputies, Rashad Bayoumi, pending further investigation.

Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague said he was "very concerned" by the reports of violence. In a Twitter message, he

wrote: "Hope calm heads will prevail, vital to avoid escalation."

Fears have been high over a major Islamist

backlash to the military's move. The Brotherhood has said it will not

work with

the new military-backed leadership. Morsi supporters say the

military has wrecked Egypt's democracy by carrying out a coup

against an elected president. They accuse Mubarak loyalists and

liberal and secular opposition parties of turning to the army

for help because they lost at the polls to Islamists. Many

supporters have equally seen it as a conspiracy against Islam.

Extremist Islamist groups that gained considerable freedom to operate during Morsi's year in office have already vowed violence

in retaliation.

The first major Islamic militant attack came

before dawn Friday in the tumultuous Sinai Peninsula, killing at least

one soldier.

Masked assailants launched a coordinated attack with rockets,

rocket-propelled grenades and anti-aircraft guns on the airport

in the northern Sinai city of el-Arish, where military aircraft

are located, as well as a security forces camp in Rafah on

the border with Gaza and five other military and police posts,

sparking nearly four hours of clashes.

One of military's top commanders, Gen. Ahmed

Wasfi arrived at el-Arish on Friday to lead operations there as the

army declared

a "war on terrorism" in Sinai. A crowd of Morsi supporters tried

to storm the governor's office in the city but were dispersed

by security forces.

The night of Morsi's ouster, jihadi groups held a rally in el-Arish attended by hundreds, vowing to fight. "War council, war

council," a speaker shouted, according to online video of the rally. "No peacefulness after today."

Islamic militants hold a powerful sway in

the lawless and chaotic northern Sinai. They are heavily armed with

weapons smuggled

from Libya and have links with militants in the neighboring Gaza

Strip, run by Hamas. After the attack, Egypt indefinitely

closed its border crossing into Gaza, sending 200 Palestinians

back into the territory, said Gen. Sami Metwali, director of

Rafah passage.

At the Rabia al-Adawiya rally earlier in the

day, the crowd filled much of a broad boulevard, vowing to remain in

place until

Morsi is restored. The protesters railed against what they called

the return of the regime of autocrat Hosni Mubarak, ousted

in early 2011.

"The old regime has come back ... worse than before," said Ismail Abdel-Mohsen, an 18-year old student among the crowds outside

the Rabia al-Adawiya Mosque. He dismissed the new interim head of state sworn in a day earlier, senior judge Adly Mansour,

as "the military puppet."

"After sunset, President Morsi will be back in the palace," they chanted. "The people want God's law. Islamic, Islamic, whether

the army likes it or not."

Many held copies of the Quran in the air,

and much of the crowd had the long beards of ultraconservative men or


black robes and veils worn by women, leaving only the eyes

visible. One protester shouted that the sheik of Al-Azhar — Egypt's

top Muslim cleric who backed the military's move — was "an agent

of the Christians" — reflecting a sentiment that the Christian

minority was behind Morsi's ouster.

In southern Egypt, Islamists attacked the

main church in the city of Qena on Friday. In the town of Dabaiya near

the city

of Luxor, a mob torched houses of Christians, sending dozens of

Christians seeking shelter in a police station. Clashes broke

out Friday in at least two cities in the Nile Delta between pro-

and anti-Morsi demonstrators.

The first steps for creating a post-Morsi

government were taken Thursday, when Mansour, the 67-year-old chief

justice of the

Supreme Constitutional Court, was sworn in by fellow judges as

interim president. A Cabinet of technocrats is to be formed

to run the country for an interim period until new elections can

be held — though officials have not said how long that will

be. In the meantime, the Islamist-written constitution has been


On Friday, Mansour dissolved the country's

interim parliament — the upper house of the legislature, which was


dominated by Islamists and Morsi allies. The Shura Council, which

normally does not legislate, held legislative powers under

Morsi's presidency because the lower house had been dissolved.

Mansour also named the head of General Intelligence, Rafaat Shehata, as his security adviser.