CAIRO (Reuters) - A civilian was killed on Friday during a protest rally in Cairo in support of Egypt’s former president Mohamed Mursi, security sources said, on the second anniversary of the army’s overthrow of the Islamist leader.
Supporters of Mursi’s now-banned Muslim Brotherhood said interior ministry forces had opened fire at the protest. The ministry was not immediately available for comment.
The security sources said the person had been shot dead and that two other people had been wounded. A health ministry spokesman confirmed the death, which he said had occurred at a rally in the southern Cairo district of Dar al-Salaam. He did not elaborate.
Egyptian authorities have cracked down hard on the Brotherhood since the army overthrew him on July 3, 2013, following mass protests against his one-year rule.
Last month a court sentenced Mursi, Egypt’s first freely elected leader, to death along with fellow leaders of the Brotherhood. Thousands of alleged supporters of the movement are also in jail, many serving lengthy sentences.
The Brotherhood maintains it is committed to peaceful activism, but the government has labeled it a terrorist organization and does not distinguish between it and other militant groups based mainly in North Sinai.
On Friday, a branch of the pro-Brotherhood ‘National Coalition to Support Legitimacy and Reject the Coup’ said on its Facebook page a man had been shot dead in Cairo when interior ministry forces “opened fire with live ammunition and bird cartridge”.
Two people, including a soldier, were wounded by birdshot at a separate demonstration involving dozens of Brotherhood supporters in the Nile Delta province of Menoufia, the state news agency MENA reported.
At least 100 militants and 17 soldiers were killed on Wednesday, according to army statistics, in fierce fighting between the military and the Sinai Province group - Islamic State’s Egypt affiliate - in the Sinai peninsula, which borders Israel, the Gaza Strip and the Suez Canal.
Egyptian security sources said on Friday forces sweeping the area had discovered the remains of four soldiers and 24 suspected militants apparently killed in the earlier clashes.
A Sinai Province statement, posted online along with photos, said the group had attacked a series of checkpoints in and around the cities of Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid on Wednesday using suicide bombers, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades.
The Egyptian military said in a video statement it had responded with Apache helicopters and other heavy weaponry.
Sinai Province said in a later statement it had fired three Grad rockets into “occupied Palestine” on Friday. An Israeli military source said a rocket that landed in southern Israel had originated in the Sinai but caused no damage or casualties.
Separately, two soldiers were wounded in the central city of Minya in a drive-by shooting at a checkpoint, MENA reported.
Additional reporting by Mostafa Hashem, Ahmed Mohamed Hassan and Yousri Mohamed; Editing by Gareth Jones