The siege of the Al-Fath mosque in the Ramsis area came at the end of a day of clashes between security forces and supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi that left over 80 people dead.
    
A demonstrator inside the mosque said that soldiers offered to evacuate the women but insisted on questioning the men, which the protesters refused.
    
Security officials quoted by a news agency said "armed elements are shooting security forces and police from inside the mosque."
    
However Morsi's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) appealed for the prevention of another "massacre" over 578 people were killed nationwide on Wednesday when police cleared protest camps set up by Morsi loyalists.
    
The protester inside the mosque who spoke said that there were almost 1,000 people holed up in the house of worship. The mosque had held over 20 bodies of people killed in the clashes earlier in the day, witnesses said.

Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood party declared on Friday a week of daily rallies across Egypt. Two days ago the protesters' camps were cleared, leaving at least 638 dead and sparking international condemnation.
The interior ministry, in the light of Wednesday's violence, said police had been authorized to use live ammunition ‘within a legal framework’. A state of emergency is also in force, including a dusk-to-dawn curfew.

Egypt has been rocked by massive protests since the ouster of the country's first democratically elected President Morsi by the military on July 3. The Muslim Brotherhood-backed president is being held incommunicado at a secret location.

The army-backed Egyptian government led by interim President Adly Mansour cracked down on the sit-ins by tens of thousands of Morsi supporters on Wednesday which led to violence and hundreds of deaths.

JPN/Agencies

 

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