Deaths reported in fresh Egypt violence despite call to cancel protests

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At least 79 people were killed across Egypt on Saturday during violence and 549 were wounded, Reuters reported the state news agency MENA as saying on Sunday.

According to Reuters, Egypt’s death toll has climbed to at least 830 people killed in the country since Wednesday in clashes pitting supporters of deposed Islamist President Mohammed Mursi against state security forces.

The death toll rose despite a statement by an Islamist alliance, opposed to the Egyptian military’s of ousting Mursi, that called off rallies planned for Sunday, Agence France-Presse reported.

The alliance cited “security reasons” as the impetus behind their calling off of protests.

“Several marches in Cairo have been cancelled for security reasons,” AFP quoted Yasmine Adel, a spokeswoman of the Anti-Coup Coalition, as saying.

Adel added that some other marches were taking place but it was not immediately possible to confirm her statement.

According to an AFP correspondent, residents took over a mosque in central Cairo’s Dokki neighborhood for use as a starting point for a march.

The correspondent added that vigilantes in the area stopped cars with bearded people and forcibly removed them from their vehicles.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s interior ministry said on Sunday it will ban groups of vigilantes who have set up self-styled “popular committees” in Cairo.

“The interior ministry has decided to ban the creation of popular committees which are used by some to carry out illegal acts,” the ministry said in a statement.

In a related story, Al-Masry Al-Youm website reported on Sunday that about 38 people were killed after clashes between Egyptian police and gunmen attempting to help jailed Muslim Brotherhood supporters escape Abu Zaabal prison, in the Qayloola province.

“A security official has confirmed that 36 Muslim Brotherhood elements were killed during an attempt to escape,” the official MENA news agency has also reported.

The gunmen took one police officer inside one of the prison’s vehicles used to transfer inmates at the beginning of the attack, the website said, adding that the whereabouts of the police officer was not known.

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