Beltagy’s daughter killed as Rabea protesters hold their ground

Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed al-Beltagy said his daughter was killed on Wednesday in clashes between protesters and security forces as they attempted to disperse the sit-in at Rabea al-Adaweya.

Reports said 17-year-old Asmaa al-Beltagy suffered gunshots to the chest.

Beltagy spoke from Rabea al-Adaweya to Al-Jazeera, calling on police and army forces to refuse orders to shoot at protesters, take off their uniforms and go home.

Beltagy warned that Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is turning Egypt into “another Syria.”

The Health Ministry reported that at least 149 people died and over 1400 were injured nationwide as clashes broke out after security forces moved to disperse two sit-ins by supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsi.

Going on for over a month, the sit-ins at Rabea al-Adaweya and Nahda Square came under attack by police forces in the early hours of Wednesday. Muslim Brotherhood sources claim that the death toll is over 2000, according to the Rabea field hospital.

Clashes are still ongoing in Nasr City, while in Giza, they have moved from Nahda to Mostafa Mahmoud Square.

As the whereabouts of Muslim Brotherhood leaders remain unknown amid rumors of their arrest, Omar Fahmy, a field doctor at Rabea al-Adaweya, confirmed to Mada Masr that the group’s leaders had fled the scene as a “tactical move.”

Fahmy, who is also the son of former Shura Council speaker Ahmed Fahmy, said that leaders of the group had fled from Rabea al-Adaweya to escape arrest should the sit-in be completely cleared.

Earlier on Wednesday, state newspaper Al-Ahram eported that security forces are hunting down Islamist leaders who are allegedly hiding at Rabea al-Adaweya, including Beltagy, Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, Jama’a al-Islamiya leader Assem Abdel Maged and preacher Safwat Hegazy.

Yasser Mehrez, spokesperson for the Muslim Brotherhood denied reports that Beltagy, among other Brotherhood leaders had been arrested, according to the Freedom and Justice Party’s online portal.

Mehrez however said that Beltagy was still at Rabea al-Adaweya.

Fahmy said he has personally treated several cases with gunfire injuries to the arms and legs, while Mada Masr witnessed several injuries to the head and chest.

Inside the field hospital, it was getting increasing harder for protesters to bring in the injured as it became a target of gunfire.

Mada reporters counted five dead bodies inside one of the several fridges in the makeshift morgue inside the mosque at Rabea al-Adaweya. Ahmed Kamel, who is responsible for the morgue, said there are around 35 bodies so far inside the fridges.

Rami Ahmed, a school teacher from Monufiya who is part of the security team at the Rabea al-Adaweya sit-in, said he was behind the barricades set up by the protesters when the clashes started.

Ahmed said security forces started by firing tear gas, after which they proceeded to use live ammunition.

Security forces also had bulldozers that they used to tear down the barricades and tents, he said.

Some of the tents were also set on fire by security forces, he added.

Ahmed said he saw protesters coming out of the bathrooms with gunshot wounds to the head caused by what he said was sniper fire.

The protesters then attempted to block the sit-in again using cars.

Ahmed said he expects the sit-in to continue because people are already coming back.

“We don’t have any other option but to remain peaceful,” he told Mada Masr. “Every minute of us waiting here is a victory and what comes will be better.”

Ahmed is determined to stay at the sit-in, saying every time he speaks to his wife and children, they urge him to stay.