By Amira Salah-Ahmed
CAIRO: At least seven people were killed, according to eyewitnesss, and over 250 injured in a violent crackdown on protesters outside the Cabinet headquarters that started before dawn Friday and spilled into the early hours of Saturday.
The Ministry of Health’s latest statement said three were killed, however, rights activists at Zeinhom Morgue and the two Kasr El-Aini Hospitals where the injured were transferred said the death toll was at least seven.
The deaths were reportedly caused by bullets, rights activists said, but the type of bullets used is still undetermined.
One man whose body was taken to the old Kasr Al-Aini Hospital is still unidentified, with no form of identification or a phone on him when he was brought in.
Among those killed was Sheikh Emad Effat, a top official at Dar Al-Iftah, the body that issues Islamic fatwas (edicts). Devastated family, friends and some of his students gathered outside the Kasr Al-Aini hospital morgue as the prosecutor prepared the report.
Egypt’s Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa paid a brief visit to the hospital late Friday, where he spoke with the family and promised that an official statement would be issued the next day, denying reports of an earlier statement that said Sheikh Effat was merely “passing by” the site of protests.
Angry friends and colleagues said Sheikh Effat frequently participated in protests and supported the sit-ins, insisting on making this clear in the filed reports.
Gomaa distanced himself and Al-Azhar from the statement being circulated, and said an official detailed one would be released on Saturday.
It was announced that Sheikh Effat’s funeral prayer will take place Saturday afternoon from Al-Azhar, however the family is mulling holding it in Tahrir Square.
Earlier in the day field doctors and activists reported several injuries allegedly caused by live ammo.
Men in civilian clothes and army uniforms were seen throwing rocks and furniture at protesters from the rooftops of the parliament buildings. Protesters have been camped outside the Cabinet headquarters, on the same street, since Nov. 25.
The ensuing exchange of rock throwing and Molotov cocktails saw protesters pushed out of Magles El-Shaab Street. Tens were arrested and severely beaten earlier on Friday and a number of them were later released.
Clashes continued into the night with troops on the ground and men hurling rocks and other objects, including furniture, from the rooftops of government building and using water hoses on activists.