16 killed, 200 injured in clashes between Morsi's followers, opponents

CAIRO, July 3 (Xinhua) -- At least 16 people were killed and 200 others injured in overnight clashes between Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi's opponents and supporters near Cairo University in Giza, official news agency MENA reported early Wednesday.

   Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim said security forces managed to control the situation and separate the two rival groups."The security forces are currently trying to convince the Islamist protesters to end their sit-in and leave the area to avoid renewal of clashes," MENA quoted the minister as saying.

    On Tuesday evening, a police officer at the nearby Boulak al-Dakrour police station was shot in the head by a sniper hiding at the university and he is currently in critical condition. Over the past week, several dozen people were killed and over 1,400 injured in clashes across Egypt due to the bitter political division between Morsi's opponents and proponents.

  His Islamist supporters called for his stay in office and considered the military's 48-hour ultimatum for coming up with a solution to the crisis as a military coup. Meanwhile, the president's opponents, mostly liberals, demanded Morsi's removal and pushed for an early presidential election.

   On Monday afternoon, the army gave all rival parties a 48-hour deadline to resolve the ongoing political conflict, or it would impose a roadmap for the future of the chaos-stricken country. The military declaration was hailed by Morsi's opponents but hated by his supporters.

  On Tuesday, Morsi reiterated in a speech that he would stick to his post as president and vowed to sacrifice his life as "price for legitimacy."  Morsi's speech implied a challenge to the military's warning, while the countdown for the army's ultimatum is ticking.  Following the speech, Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said that the army would die in defense of the people. "It is more honorable for us to die than letting the Egyptian people be intimidated or threatened," read a message in Sisi's official Facebook page. 

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