An angry Egyptian mob has lynched the teenage son of a Muslim Brotherhood leader, accusing him of killing a man over Facebook comments critical of the Islamist movement, said security sources on Saturday.
The violence that took place on Thursday in the Nile Delta was the latest in a spate of vigilante killings in the region amid growing lawlessness since the 2011 revolution that toppled former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Yussef Rabie Abdessalam, 16, pulled out a gun and opened fire indiscriminately, killing a passerby and wounding another after a heated argument with a man who had openly criticized the influential Brotherhood on the Internet, sources said.
His action sparked fury in Qattawiya, a village in the Nile Delta province of Sharqiya, where Abdessalam’s father, Rabie Abdessalam, is an official at the local branch of the Freedom and Justice Party, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood from which President Mohamed Mursi hails.
An angry mob surrounded Abdessalam’s house seeking revenge, but the family refused to give Abdessalam up and hurled stones from inside the house at the protesters.
A man outside the house was fatally wounded.
Police tried in vain to contain the violence and attempted to evacuate the Abdessalam family but the mob set fire to the house and in the confusion grabbed Abdessalam and lynched him.
The mob beat him up “and dragged him across 500 meters to his death,” the Freedom and Justice Party said on its Facebook page.
“This is not a political incident,” said the Islamist party, calling on all sides to show restraint.
But a security source and local media said the violence was triggered after comments hostile to the Muslim Brotherhood were posted on Facebook.
There have been several reports of lynchings in Egypt in recent months.
In March, villagers in Sharqiya province beat up a man and then lynched him, accusing him of car theft days after residents of another town strung up two men accused of kidnapping a girl.
Crime rates have increased across Egypt since the uprising and a police officer reported in March that at least 17 lynchings had taken place in Sharqiya since 2011.