Death toll in Egypt's Port Said rises to 40

Updated: 2013-01-29 05:13


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CAIRO - The death toll in recent clashes in Egypt's riot-stricken Port Said governorate has risen to 40, while the total number of injured people has exceeded 1,000, official news agency MENA reported Monday.

Port Said received Monday the bodies of three people who were earlier sent to Ismailia governorate for treatment but died there. Besides the three, "31 were killed in Port Said on Saturday and five on Sunday, in addition to a person who died of injury this morning," Ahmed Omar, a health ministry spokesman, told Xinhua.

Clashes erupted Saturday in Port Said after a court sentenced 21 convicts from the governorate to death over last year's soccer riots that killed 74 people, which is known among Egyptians as " the Port Said massacre."

The clashes continued Sunday during a mass funeral held in Port Said for Saturday's victims.

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Sunday imposed a 30-day curfew and a state of emergency in the governorates of Port Said, Suez and Ismailia, which witnessed over the past few days bloody confrontations between anti-government protesters and security forces.

The president attributed the bloody clashes to "sinful hands" that deviated from peaceful protests and expression of opinions to armed aggression and vandalism.

"I invite leaders of political forces for a dialogue Monday afternoon," Morsi said Sunday, stressing that there was no alternative to a dialogue among the Egyptian people to overcome the ongoing crisis.

Egypt's main opposition bloc, the National Salvation Front (NSF) , announced Monday its rejection of Morsi's invitation, demanding that Morsi amend the controversial, recently-drafted constitution, form "a qualified national salvation government," sack the current prosecutor-general and subject the Muslim Brotherhood to the law as preconditions for dialogue.

The dialogue started Monday night with the absence of the NSF, while a lot of people of the three governorates fearlessly violated the curfew.