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Army, Islamists exchange fire in Ramses Square in central Cairo

August 17, 2013, 17:16 UTC+3
At about 2 p.m. local time, snipers had unexpectedly opened fire from the mosque’s minaret at the troops and demonstrators
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Photo EPA/ITAR-TASS

Photo EPA/ITAR-TASS

CAIRO, August 17 (Itar-Tass) - All attention in Cairo is riveted to central Ramses Square where armed Islamists and several Muslim Brotherhood leaders have barricaded themselves in inside the mosque.

According to media reports, some of them are top functionaries wanted by the authorities.

Army troops had surrounded the mosque and engaged in negotiations with the Islamists, letting several unarmed people walk out through a security corridor from one of the exits. Crowds of people who had come to the square after the army acted quite aggressively with regard to the opposition and the military could barely hold them back to prevent lynching.

At about 2 p.m. local time, snipers had unexpectedly opened fire from the mosque’s minaret at the troops and demonstrators, forcing them to retreat. Police and groups of young people found shelter behind armoured vehicles or houses in adjacent streets. Elite army units are returning fire. Helicopters are barraging over the square.

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