Clashes involving gunfire between supporters and opponents of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi killed at least two people and injured about 70 others near Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Friday night, state television said.
The violence came after the supreme leader of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood vowed the movement would stay on the streets until the deposed leader is restored as president, two days after the military removed him.
Supporters of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi evacuate a man who was shot during a gun battle outside the Cairo headquarters of the Republican Guard on July 5, 2013 AFP
Witnesses said military vehicles were seen moving in the direction of the clashes.
Also unidentified gunmen killed five Egyptian policemen guarding a government building in the northern Sinai town of El-Arish Friday, a security official told AFP, after a soldier was also killed in the region.
The gunmen, who were on a motorbike, shot the policemen dead before fleeing the scene, the official said.
Earlier on Friday, a soldier was killed as Islamist militants used rockets and machineguns in attacks on police stations and military posts in the restive area, a medic said.
Two soldiers were also wounded when a checkpoint in Al-Gura in the north of the peninsula came under fire.
A police station and a military intelligence building in the city of Rafah on the border with the Palestinian Gaza Strip and Israel were also attacked with rockets, security sources said.
Many Islamists have publicly warned of resorting to violence in retaliation for the ousting of president Mohamed Morsi who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood.
Morsi, Egypt’s first elected civilian president, was removed by the army on Wednesday after mass demonstrations against his one year of rule.
The authorities in Egypt closed the Rafah crossing after Friday’s attacks.
“Egypt has officially informed us that the Rafah crossing is closed until further notice because of the situation on the Egyptian side at Rafah and Sheikh Zuaid” in the Sinai, the interior ministry of the Hamas government ruling Gaza said.
Egyptian sources told AFP that the crossing into the Palestinian territory will remain closed indefinitely.
The Sinai has been plagued by security problems since early 2011 when president Hosni Mubarak was ousted.
Predominantly populated by Bedouins who have long-standing grievances with the central government, the Sinai is also home to radical Islamists who use it as a base from which to attack Israel.