In the main prayer hall of the Al-Fath mosque, its grubby carpet littered with discarded shreds of cotton wool and surgical pads, an army commander huddled in a circle with his troops who, it was claimed, had only entered the building to clear it of supporters of toppled President, Mohamed Morsi as well as to protect innocent worshippers from angry mobs gathering outside.
Hundreds of locals were crammed against the pointed steel gates of the mosque courtyard. Many were in no mood to forgive those trapped inside; in the minds of some Egyptians, the Morsi supporters have become little more than “terrorist” outlaws.
“Their fate is not in my hands now,” said Yasmine, 20, a college student. “The army and the police think the people trapped inside are terrorists. But they are not. What we have now is chaos. There is chaos between all the Egyptian people.”
The fear and anxiety were palpable. Weeping relatives tramped around the prayer hall, while jumpy police officers toted their Kalashnikovs in one hand, wide-eyed and frantically chewing gum.
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