Death toll from Egypt protests rises

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iol pic afr Mideast Egypt~10 AP A protester wounded in clashes with security forces is evacuated from the site in the Mohandiseen district of Cairo, Egypt on January 25, 2014. Picture: Eman Helal


Cairo - Egyptian officials said Sunday that the death toll from clashes between security forces and protesters on the third anniversary of the country's 2011 uprising has risen to 49.

The Health Ministry, quoted by the official MENA news agency on Sunday, said another 247 were wounded. The agency quotes the Interior Ministry as saying 1 079 were arrested.

Throughout the day, security forces crushed demonstrations by rival Islamists and some secular activists. Pro-army civilians joined the police in some of the clashes.

Meanwhile in Tahrir Square, birthplace of the 2011 uprising, giant crowds at government-backed rallies demanded army chief General Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi run for president.

Also Sunday, militants fired a rocket-propelled grenade at an army bus in the Sinai Peninsula, a security official said. He spoke anonymously as he was not authorised to talk to media.

MENA said the ambush in the centre of the lawless desert region killed three soldiers and wounded another 11.

Egypt's military is battling an insurgency in the Sinai. Attacks by militant groups, notable the al-Qaeda-inspired Ansar Beit al-Maqdis or Champions of Jerusalem, have spiked since El-Sissi toppled Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in a July coup that followed millions-strong demonstrations calling on him to step down.

MENA meanwhile reported that five crewmen were killed when a helicopter went down in the Sinai the day before. It said El-Sissi attended their funerals on Sunday.

The military did not give a cause for the crash, but Ansar Beit al-Maqdis claimed in a statement on a militant website to have shot the aircraft down.


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