CAIRO – Egypt's security forces clashed with supporters of the former Islamist president at several universities across the country on Tuesday, as an explosive device detonated in a residential area of the capital but caused no injuries or damage.
Meanwhile, the trial of 24 students charged with rioting and sabotage at their Islamic Al-Azhar University opened in Cairo after a week of demonstrations calling for the release of detained students and demanding the reinstatement of Mohammed Morsi, ousted from the presidency in a popularly-backed military coup on July 3.
Protests, clashes and trials of Islamists have been a daily occurrence in Egypt since the coup, sparking cycles of violence mainly between security forces and Morsi supporters demanding the reinstatement of the man they consider the legitimate president.
Numbers at the pro-Morsi rallies had dwindled over the past months but lately picked up at universities. Usually, the clashes start when students march off campus and security forces fire tear gas to disperse them.
On Tuesday, students and Morsi supporters in the southern Minya and Assiut universities as well as the Nile Delta city of Tanta clashed with security forces, prompting them to fire tear gas, witnesses said.
Meanwhile in the capital, a home-made bomb exploded near a school in the Nasr city district, state TV said, providing no further details on the attack. Militant attacks have been largely concentrated in the lawless Sinai peninsula but spilled over to the capital. In September, Egypt's Interior Minister survived an assassination attempt by a suicide car bomber.
Most attacks have been blamed on an Al Qaeda inspired group called Ansar Jerusalem.
On Tuesday, Egypt's military spokesman Col. Ahmed Mohammed Ali confirmed on his official Facebook page that special forces have killed a key militant named Selmi Mohammed Musabah Zayed, also known as Abu Khaled, from an Al Qaeda-linked group in the northern Sinai Peninsula where the army has been battling Islamic militants.
Ali says the militant was behind the killings of 16 Egyptian soldiers in Sinai in August. 2012.