Death toll mounts as rival Egyptian factions clash overnight

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Three women died and seven other people were wounded in clashes between loyalists and opponents of Egypt’s ousted Islamist President Mohammed Mursi, medics said Saturday.

AFP news agency cited a hospital official in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura as saying that the women were killed by “birdshot and stabbing attacks during clashes between Mursi supporters and his opponents.”

According to Reuters, at least 99 people have died in violence since Mursi's removal by the army on July 3, more than half of them when troops allegedly fired on Islamist protesters outside a Cairo barracks on July 8.

There were conflicting reports, however, over whether the three killed overnight were all women.

Reuters news agency reported that two women and a 13-year-old boy died in the clashes.

The deaths come despite warnings by the military that it would crackdown on violent protests.

Eight fighter jets screamed over the city in the morning and afternoon, while two formations of helicopters, some trailing the Egyptian flag, hummed over the rooftops, Reuters reported.

Early on Saturday, army helicopters were seen dropping Egyptian flags on thousands of Mursi's opponents gathering in Cairo's central Tahrir Square.

Tensions are running high in Egypt more than two weeks after the army ousted the country’s first freely-elected president following massive protests calling for him to go.

Rival protests were staged in several cities on Friday, with tens of thousands rallying in Cairo to demand the Islamist leader’s return to power.

Waving Egyptian flags, along with portraits of the deposed Mursi, Islamists marched in Cairo, Alexandria and several other cities along the Nile Delta, enouncing what they termed a military coup.

“We are coming out today to restore legitimacy,” said Tarek Yassin, 40, who had travelled to Cairo from the southern city of Sohag, underscoring the Brotherhood’s deep roots in the provinces, according to Reuters.

“We consider what happened secular thuggery. It would never happen in any democratic country,” he said.

(With AFP and Reuters)

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