Cairo, 11 Syawal 1434/18 August 2013 (MINA) – Anadolu Agency correspondent Heba Zakariya and Turkish TRT television network Metin Turan who were reporting the standoff from inside Fatah Mosque in Cairo’s Ramses Square have been taken to Tora jail in southern Cairo.

    “Police told us before leaving the mosque that they would move us in a police vehicle to protect us from thugs outside, but we discovered we were being taken to Tora prison,” Zakaria said in a brief phone call with her.

    “We have already arrived at the prison,” she added before the conversation was abruptly cut.

    There was no immediate comment from the Interior Ministry, according to Anadolu Agency report monitored by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA), Sunday.

    Previously, Zakariya reported that hundreds of people besieged inside the Fath Mosque in Cairo’s Ramses Square have launched a hunger strike until a safe exit.

    She also denied media reports that all protesters had been cleared from the mosque.

    “Around 300 people, mostly women, have launched a hunger strike until a safe exit is provided for them or being protected from thugs and security forces,” Zakaria said.

     Hundreds of protesters, including women and children, had taken refuge in the mosque following assault by security forces in Ramses Square escalated.

     Later, security forces tightened control over the entire square and besieged Fath Mosque and the nearby Tawheed Mosque.

     The protesters fear that they would be attacked by thugs and angry residents if they went out, and decided to stay inside the mosque.

     More than 181 people were killed Friday in mass rallies staged by pro-democracy demonstrators in several Egyptian cities to protest Wednesday’s violent dispersal of their two main protest sites in Cairo and Giza.

     Egypt has been in a state of turmoil since security forces violently dispersed the sit-ins in Rabaa al-Adawiya and Nahda squares on Wednesday.

     The Health Ministry has said that at least 638 people had been killed in nationwide violence since Wednesday, including 288 in Rabaa and 87 in Nahda.

     However, the pro-Morsi alliance has put the number of deaths from the Rabaa sit-in alone at some 2,600. (T/P09/E1).

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA).

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