Attack on Morsi Compound Leaves 42 Dead and 300 Wounded

A large group of demonstrators gathered at the Republican Guards Club in Cairo where deposed president is being held, at about 4 am the crowd got rowdy and the army used tear gas to break them up.  At that point in the dark and confusion a group of militants attack the compound.

A protester, Mahmud al-Shilli, told the AFP news agency that troops had used tear gas but that a group of men in civilian clothing had then opened fire.

The army returned fire and 42 people were killed with more than 300 wounded, many of them demonstrators caught in the cross fire.

Military vehicles have now sealed off traffic in a wide area around the Rabaa Adawia mosque where Morsi supporters led by senior Brotherhood leaders have been staging protests since his ouster.

The army also closed two of the main bridges across the Nile River with armored vehicles, witnesses said.

Extensive strong road blocks are now in place across the Nile delta and Sinai,

The military is also securing the Suez canal and the Sumed oil pipeline, which starts at Ain Sukhna on the Gulf of Suez, runs 320 kilometers through the Western desert and ends at Sidi Kerir on the Mediterranean coast south of Alexandria.

The Salafist Al Nour party used the incident to pull out of talks to appoint interim PM.

Nour, Egypt’s second biggest Islamist party, which is vital to give the new authorities a veneer of Islamist backing, said it had withdrawn from the negotiations in protest at what it called the “massacre at the Republican Guard (compound)”.

In fact it was Nour party which blocked the appointment of ElBaradei and a second choice for prime minister tying up the formation of the interim government.

“We’ve announced our withdrawal from all tracks of negotiations as a first response,” party spokesman Nader Bakar said on Facebook.

A statement on the Brotherhood’s  Facebook page following the shooting said, “(The Freedom and Justice Party) calls on the great Egyptian people to rise up against those who want to steal their revolution with tanks and armored vehicles, even over the dead bodies of the people,”

The fighting between Egyptian military and armed Islamists in Sinai went into its third day Monday with the eruption of a fierce battle close to the Israeli border not far from the Israeli town of Eilat. The sounds of gunfire and explosions reached the Ovda Israeli Air Force base 40 kilometers north of the town.

As a precaution, the Israeli army closed that part of Route 12 which runs close to the Sinai border near Eilat.

Armed Salafists are still attacking Egyptian army, police positions and checkpoints at El Arish and Sheikh Zweid, firing heavy machine guns and missile launchers mounted on their vehicles.  An Egyptian soldier and a policeman were killed Sunday.

The Palestinians said they believe there is a “good chance at renewal of talks” and are waiting for US Secretary of State John Kerry to arrive this weekend. However, his trip may be postponed due to his wife’s sudden illness and the situation in Egypt where attacks from Gaza on Israel are expected at any time and Israel is on high alert for a Gaza war.

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