Update: Two students killed after police enter Azhar campus

 

Two students were killed Sunday during clashes between police and Al-Azhar University students after security forces entered the campus to disperse protests.

According to state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper, one was a senior commerce student, Abdallah Ahmed, and the other a physical education student, Ahmed Mohamed Abdel Hafez, who was later transferred to Al-Zahraa Hospital and died from his injuries. 

The “Azhar Students Against the Coup” Facebook group posted a graphic photograph, purportedly of Ahmed, with a severely disfigured face, saying that he was killed by a bullet to the head.

Police had earlier moved to disperse protests after demonstrators destroyed the car of university president Osama al-Abd, state-owned website EgyNews reported.

Students also reportedly set a police car on fire in front of Al-Azhar dormitories in Nasr City. They clashed with police forces and blocked Mustafa al-Nahas Street, causing traffic to build up in the area. 

According to EgyNews, security forces used tear gas and warning shots to disperse students after the administration requested an intervention by police.

Students have been in almost daily stand-offs with security forces since the return of first semester classes at Al-Azhar.

Classes resumed in Al-Azhar University on March 15, one week after other universities and schools, which were also delayed for two weeks due to the security situation. 

A controversial court verdict issued in February reversed a 2010 verdict, then executed in 2011, to remove police forces from university campuses.

While police have not returned to campuses permanently following the verdict, they have regularly entered campuses during clashes.

A live feed of the clashes at Al-Azhar University, posted by the “Azhar University Students Against the Coup” group on Facebook, showed two Central Security Forces trucks standing immediately outside the campus firing heavy tear gas while students run in gas masks.

The video also showed one policeman advancing towards the campus, firing cartouche through the spaces in the wall at students inside the campus.

The first semester witnessed violent clashes in universities across Egypt, resulting in the deaths of at least three students.

Since the beginning of term, clashes between police and students who oppose the removal of former President Mohamed Morsi have become a regular occurrence on Egyptian campuses.

On Wednesday, one student died in violent clashes that erupted in Cairo University.

A homemade bomb also exploded just outside Al-Azhar University on Saturday, causing no casualties and no damage, according to the university’s security chief.

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