Violent clashes across the Egyptian cities of Alexandria and Port Said have left three people dead and more than 70 others injured.
A senior security official said a 21-year-old US male died from a stab wound to the chest after violence erupted between supporters and opponents of President Mohamed Morsi in the country’s second city Alexandria.
A second victim was shot dead during clashes in the city, while a third person died as protests also turned violent in Port Said.
The deaths come as leading clerics warned of “civil war” in Egypt after violence in the last week has left several dead and hundreds wounded.
They backed President Morsi’s offer to talk to opposition groups ahead of mass protests scheduled for Sunday.
General Amin Ezzeddin, a senior Alexandria security official, told the Reuters news agency that the young American was using a mobile phone camera near an office of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood in the city’s Sidi Gaber neighbourhood when it was being attacked by protesters.
He was rushed to a military hospital, where he died.
State news agency MENA said 70 people had been injured.
The US State Department has confirmed the death of the American citizen.
“We can confirm that a US citizen was killed in Alexandria, Egypt,” acting deputy State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said in a statement.
“We are providing appropriate consular assistance from our embassy in Cairo and our Bureau of Consular Affairs at the State Department. We do not have further information to provide at this time.”
In an updated travel warning, the department cautioned US citizens “to defer non-essential travel to Egypt at this time due to the continuing possibility of political and social unrest.”
TV footage showed protesters running from the scene as gunshots were heard.
The offices of the Freedom and Justice Party, the political arm of Mr Morsi’s party, were also set on fire during the confrontations.
A Brotherhood member was also killed overnight in an attack on a party office at Zagazig, in the heavily populated Nile Delta, where much of the recent violence has been concentrated.
Mr Morsi’s movement said five supporters in all had died this week – three in Mansura and two in Zagazig.
The unrest is seen by many as a prelude to mass anti-Morsi protests planned for Sunday – marking a his first year in office.
The June 30 protest was called by Tamarod, a grassroots movement which says it has more than 15 million signatures for a petition demanding Mr Morsi’s resignation and a snap election.
It alleges that Mr Morsi reneged on his promise to be a president for all Egyptians and has failed to deliver on the uprising’s aspirations for freedom and social justice.
The president himself warned in a televised speech on Wednesday that the growing polarisation threatens to “paralyse” Egypt.
The army, which oversaw the transition from former president Mubarak’s autocratic rule but has been on the sidelines since Morsi’s election, warned it would intervene if violence erupts.
It has brought in reinforcements to key cities, security officials said.
- Related stories
- Egypt Teeters On The Brink Of The Future
- Egypt: Attack On Shia Comes At Dangerous Time
Article source: http://news.sky.com/story/1109376