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Middle East

Morsi loyalists seize two soldiers in Cairo: official


Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood rallying in support of deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi clash with police outside the elite Republican Guards base in Cairo early on July 8, 2013. Armed supporters of Morsi seized two soldiers in Cairo after dozens were killed on Monday in clashes outside the elite military headquarters, an army official said. (AFP)

Armed supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi briefly seized two soldiers in Cairo after dozens were killed in clashes outside an elite military headquarters on Monday, an army official said.

Both of the Egyptian soldiers, who were identified as Samir Abdallah Ali and Azzam Hazem Ali, "managed to escape their captors", the official said.

The two had been put in a vehicle and forced to make pro-Morsi and anti-army statements on a loudspeaker, said the official, cited by state news agency MENA.

One soldier had been "severely beaten up" and filmed while making the pro-Morsi statements, he added.

The report came after an attack on Morsi supporters outside the Republican Guard headquarters in Cairo killed at least 42 people and injured hundreds, according to the emergency services.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which has led pro-Morsi demonstrations since the army ousted him on Wednesday, said 35 of its supporters were killed when police and troops fired at them while they were praying at dawn.

Witnesses, including Brotherhood supporters at the scene, said the army fired only tear gas and warning shots and that "thugs" in civilian clothes had carried out the deadly shooting.