At least nine people were killed and 49 injured in clashes in Abbasiya district in the Egyptian capital of Cairo, where the Defense Ministry is located, the Egyptian Health Ministry said Wednesday.
Soldiers and Central Security Forces have arrived at the Defense Ministry, in an attempt to stop the clashes between protesters and thugs, and to protect vital establishments in the area like the Orthodox Church and Demerdash, Ain Shams and hospitals along with private property such as commercial shops and cars.
President hopeful Abul Fotouh announced that his team will halt their campaign for two days in memory of those killed and injured in the clashes.
Meanwhile, Muslim Brotherhood (MB)'s political wing Freedom and Justice (FJP) announced on its website that they will boycott the meeting with the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) for the clashes in Abbasiya.
Echoing FJP's decision, disqualified Salafist presidential candidate Hazem Abou Ismail also called parties to boycott the meeting.
Forty-two injured were carried to Dar el-Shifaa Hospital and other nearby hospitals while three cases were treated at the scene, said head of the Health Ministry's Emergency Cases Department Dr. Khaled el-Tayyeb.
The injured sustained slight cut wounds, bruises and gunshots, said Tayyeb.
The clashes erupted Wednesday morning between protesters and unknown thugs, according to an announcement by the ministry.
The unknown assailants attacked the protesters with cement- based bombs, stones, birdshot guns and teargas canisters, the official al-Ahram website reported. Gunfire were heard near Abbasiya district, and traffic nearby was crowded and slow.
This was the second clash in the area within 72 hours, after the first had left one killed and more than 100 others injured.
Abou Ismail's supporters are in an open ended sit-in in Cairo's Tahrir square, opposing the country's presidential election commission's decision to exclude Abou Ismail from the contest on the basis that his mother has a U.S. passport.