• 18:55
  • Tuesday ,17 June 2014

Egypt Policeman Killed in Clashes With Islamists

By ABC News

Copts and Poliltical Islam


Tuesday ,17 June 2014

Egypt Policeman Killed in Clashes With Islamists

Clashes between Egyptian security forces and Islamist supporters of deposed President Mohammed Morsi on Monday left one policeman dead in southern Cairo, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said that security forces clashed with followers of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood group who it alleged were involved in violence, sabotage and attacks against police. It said in a statement that five of the group's supporters were arrested near a suburb called May 15.

Egypt has waged a heavy crackdown on Morsi's supporters since the military overthrew him last summer after millions marched to demand his ouster. Hundreds were killed and thousands jailed, and top Brotherhood leaders now face multiple charges. Islamic militants, meanwhile, have targeted the police and military with bombings and suicide attacks.

Egyptian authorities branded the Brotherhood a terrorist organization last year. The group denies it adopts violence and has kept up its protests against the current authorities.

The government stepped up its confiscation of the group's assets on Sunday, with police seizing a number of supermarket chains in Cairo and its twin city of Giza that are owned by a deputy Brotherhood leader and a wealthy businessman who allegedly supports the group.

The ongoing crackdown shows how the newly elected president, the former army chief who overthrew Morsi, remains determined to drain the group's resources. In previous interviews, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, has said the Brotherhood will cease to exist under his presidency.

Also on Monday, the office of the general prosecutor said in a statement that he has referred 24 alleged Islamist militants to trial on charges of possession of weapons and making explosives to carry out assassinations in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura. The case dates back to the killing of a junior policeman in Mansoura in February 2014, who was shot dead by gunmen.

Also, 21 mostly secular-leaning activists were released from detention after nearly five months captivity for staging an unauthorized demonstration and assaulting police on the third anniversary of the 2011 uprising against longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak, their lawyer said.

El-Sissi has ordered outgoing interim prime minister Ibrahim Mahlab to form a new cabinet. State TV reported that the swearing in will take place on Tuesday and that the new cabinet will not include the information ministry, which currently controls state media. The move is in line with the newly adopted constitution, which calls for an "independent institution" to regulate media and press.

After Mubarak's downfall, activists and free media advocates called for abolishing the state media and the ministry of information. The transitional military council — which took power after Mubarak's removal — agreed to the move only for a few months before reinstating the ministry. For decades under Egypt's successive presidents, state media played a major role in publicizing official policies and rallying support for the leadership.

Egypt's new parliament — which is to be elected within months— has a mandate to pass legislation that will regulate the work of the new media body.