CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian security forces have stormed a Cairo mosque and rounded up hundreds of supporters of the ousted president who had barricaded themselves in the mosque overnight.
Security officials say officers raided the Ramses Square mosque out of fears the Muslim Brotherhood intended to set up an encampment there.
Protesters and armed men sought refuge in the mosque yesterday, trying to escape angry vigilantes and avoid arrest on a day of violence that left 173 people dead.
Security forces and armored personnel carriers surrounded the mosque and negotiations began with those inside. But then, according to a state-run news agency, gunmen took over one of the minarets and fired on security forces below. Live TV broadcasts showed soldiers firing back with assault rifles.
Hundreds of people have died in days of violence that began on Wednesday, when riot police, military helicopters, snipers and bulldozers broke up two sit-ins by supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi.
The government now says it’s considering banning Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood. The group had been outlawed for decades before it was swept to power a year ago in the country’s first democratic elections.