The grand imam of al-Azhar, which is Sunni Islam’s top authority, condemned the death of dozens of supporters of Egypt’s ousted Islamist President Mohammad Mursi and called for an investigation into the incident.
“The sheikh of Al-Azhar deplores and condemns the deaths of a number of martyrs who were victims of today’s events,” Ahmed al-Tayyeb said in a statement released on Saturday.
He added that there must be an “urgent judicial investigation” and punishment of those responsible “regardless of their affiliation.”
Dozens of Mursi’s supporters were shot dead early Saturday in the deadliest violence in a month after people for and against the ousted Islamist president took to the streets.
Egypt’s Interior Ministry blamed the Muslim Brotherhood – from which Mursi hails – for the deadly clashes. It denied that it fired live rounds at protesters and said that it only used tear gas to disperse the crowd.
According to Mursi's backers, more than 100 people were killed. However, an AFP correspondent counted 37 bodies in an Islamist-run field hospital at Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque, and the emergency services said other hospitals received 29 corpse