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Smoke in Cairo Photo: AP
Smoke in Cairo Photo: AP
 
Destroyed mall in Cairo Photo: AP
Destroyed mall in Cairo Photo: AP
 
Protestors unsatisfied with Suleiman appointment Photo: AP
Protestors unsatisfied with Suleiman appointment Photo: AP
 
 

Tens of thousands return to Cairo square

Former minister reportedly evacuated from Interior Ministry building under heavy fire. Thousands of criminals, political prisoners flee local jails, join uprising against President Mubarak across country. Report: Dozens of bodies found near Cairo prison

Roee Nahmias
Published: 01.30.11, 14:04 / Israel News

Former Egyptian Interior Minister Habib El-Adly was evacuated from the Interior Ministry Building in Cairo under heavy fire, Al-Jazeera reported Sunday afternoon, despite the authorities' attempt to shut down the Qatari network in the country.

 

At the same time, tens of thousands of protestors were making their way to the Tahrir Square in central Cairo. Al-Jazeera said the protestors were carrying signs calling on President Hosni Mubarak to resign and throwing stones at his picture. Military forces remained deployed in the area, observing the protestors.

 

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Earlier, the protestors appeared to be unsatisfied with the moves promised by the president. They also protested against the appointment of Intelligence Minister Omar Suleiman as Mubarak's deputy. This was the first time the Egyptian leader made such an appointment since taking office 30 years ago, burying the possibility that he would be succeeded by his son Gamal.

 

The demonstrators, however, called on the two leaders to resign. "Hosni Mubarak and Omar Suleiman, you are both American agents," they chanted. "Mubarak, Mubarak, your plane awaits you."


Tahrir Square, Sunday afternoon (Photo: AFP)

 

The Muslim Brotherhood opposition movement on Sunday afternoon rejected the appointments announced by Mubarak on Saturday. "This is an attempt to evade the people's demands and prevent this revolution," the party said in a statement.

 

Dozens of bodies were reportedly found by security forces on a road leading from a prison in eastern Cairo to the center of the capital. The bodies were said to belong to prisoners who escaped from prison in the midst of the violent uprising in the country.

 

From jail to Gaza

According to an earlier report, thousands of prisoners fled the Wadi el-Natrun Prison, north of Cairo, where radical Islamic activists are held. Some of the inmates managed to escape to Gaza. Palestinian sources said several prisoners had already reached their homes in the Strip.

 

A Muslim Brotherhood official said 34 members of the opposition movement, including seven members of the leadership, walked out of the prison after relatives of prisoners overcame the guards. 


Ready to 'die for something' (Photo: AFP)

 

Some of the inmates who escaped were Islamic Jihad men who even managed to reach the Gaza Strip border. The Rafah border was closed due to the riots, not before Palestinian prisoner Hassan Yusef Washah managed to reach his home in the Strip, Palestinian sources said.

 

According to Washah, the Egyptian security forces shot and killed political prisoners.

 

One of the prisoners jailed in the prison is said to be Ayman Nufal, the commander of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades in central Gaza. It is unclear whether he managed to escape and return to the Strip.

 

Egyptian television reported Saturday of chaos in local prisons. Dozens of prisoners, if not hundreds, including at least 60 convicted of rape, managed to flee the Cairo jail.

 

At least eight detainees were reportedly killed Saturday in a jail holding political prisoners. Prison guards reportedly fired live ammunition and tear gas in the northern Egypt prison as detainees attempted to stage a mutiny at the site, which also holds Muslim Brotherhood prisoners.

 

According to reports, security forces were reinforcing their presence at jails throughout the country as result of the violence there.

 

Qatar-based satellite channel Al-Jazeera was ordered by Egypt's information ministry on Sunday to shut down its operations in the country, and later in the day its signal to some parts of the Middle East was cut.

 

The news channel, which says it can reach 220 million households in more than 100 countries, said in a message on its broadcast that Egypt's satellite Nilesat had cut off its broadcasting signal.

 

Elior Levy and Reuters contributed to this report

 

 

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