At least 13 protesters were killed and 57 others were wounded as Muslim Brotherhood supporters clashed with Egyptian security forces in Cairo and several other cities on Friday, Egypt’s health ministry said.
One demonstrator was shot dead by police in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia after a march set off from a mosque after midday prayers, medical sources said, according to Reuters.
In the rural province of Fayoum, southwest of Cairo, a protester died from a bullet wound to the head, local Health Ministry official Medhat Shukri told Reuters.
Fighting spread through heavily populated residential areas in several cities and provinces including Cairo, Giza, Ismailia, and Alexandria, as dozens of Muslim Brotherhood members and their supporters threw rocks at security forces who responded with water cannons and tear gas, according to Associated Press.
Black smoke hung in the air as protesters burnt tires and threw Molotov cocktails and fireworks at black-clad security forces. A number of police vehicles were set on fire.
Such scenes have been recurrent since the July 3 ouster of Mohammad Mursi by a military coup, which came after millions of anti-Islamist protesters demonstrated to demand his resignation.
The numbers of those hitting the street in support of the Brotherhood - Egypt's most organized political group - have dwindled dramatically over the past months after the military-backed interim government launched a crackdown.
Hundreds were killed when authorities broke up protest camps, thousands of Brotherhood members have been arrested and scores sent to trial.
As a result the group shifted tactics, relying more on women and student supporters as it vowed to continue protests ahead of two main events: the second session of Mursi's trial on Jan. 8 on charges killing of protesters, and the upcoming referendum on a new constitution drafted by secular-leaning panels on Jan. 14 and Jan. 15, Associated Press reported.
The interim government considers the vote a milestone in a transition plan it laid out ahead of Mursi's ouster, which envisions presidential and parliamentarian elections in the coming months. The draft charter is an amended version of the 2012 constitution drafted by an Islamist-dominated panel under Mursi, which was suspended during the coup.
Also on Friday, three explosions targeted a military and police convoy in volatile northern Sinai, wounding four soldiers, a security official said. He added that the explosions, one of which was from a roadside bomb, hit near the town of Sheikh Zuweid, close to the border with the Gaza Strip.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.
Three explosions targeted a military and police convoy in Egypt’s volatile northern Sinai region on Friday, wounding four troops, an Egyptian security official told the Associated Press.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the explosions, one of which was caused by a roadside bomb, hit near the town of Sheikh Zuweid, near to the border with the Gaza Strip.
The northern part of the Sinai Peninsula has seen a rise in attacks and suicide bombings by suspected Islamic and al-Qaeda-inspired militants, especially after the Islamist President Mursi was ousted.