Egypt says 1 killed, 50 injured in clashes on Nile islands

Man dead, dozens wounded in Egypt raid on state land squatters

Man dead, dozens wounded in Egypt raid on state land squatters

At least one person has been killed and dozens more injured in the Egyptian capital Cairo's river Nile island during a police attempt to evict residents from an unlicensed building.

Hundreds of islanders held a funeral for the slain victim, holding aloft his body as they marched through fields, chanting "we will sacrifice the martyr with our soul and blood".

In May, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ordered a campaign to recover state-owned land which had been encroached upon.

On launching his campaign earlier this summer, el Sissi said in televised comments said he would show no leniency towards a "common thief" using land not belonging to them.

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According to media reports, some residents believe the campaign to demolish illegal buildings on the banks of the Nile is part of a plan to clear the whole island.

An Interior Ministry statement said a total of 31 - policemen as well as contractors who arrived with them on the island - were injured in the clashes.

"The [police] force was taken by surprise as attackers gathered and used rubber bullets and stones", it said, adding that ten residents were arrested.

They say they responded with tear gas after being fired at but local people say the resident who died was shot.

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The Egyptian government launched a program on demolition of illegal constructions in order to vacate the state-owned lands.

Al-Warraq is only 1,300 acres big, but is home to around 90,000 people. "How is my home illegal when you have for years provided me with water and electricity", asked resident and civil servant Mahmoud Essawi. Since then, local media has shown countless images of police and bulldozers demolishing illegally built dwellings, which have been billed by the government as taking back the "people's property".

In a separate development, Egypt's military said its jet fighters destroyed 15 all-terrain vehicles carrying weapons and explosives along with "criminal elements" after they were detected getting ready to cross the Libyan border into Egypt.

It said Sunday's operation involved about 700 removal orders. It also did not mention Libya by name.

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