Itehadia Presidential Palace Testimonies and Facts
Ikhwanweb is republishing this exclusive report, which we prepared in December of 2012, in response to Egyptian media allegations blaming pro-Morsi supporters for attacking opposition protesters, which has been proven false by conclusive evidence and witnesses’ testimonies. Here’s the full report:
As result of the bloody clashes that took place on the fifth and sixth of December 2012 in front of Itehadia Presidential Palace in Cairo, the Muslim Brotherhood paid a heavy price – twice, once when its youths were killed and injured, shot by outlaws who had infiltrated the ranks of opposition protesters, according to numerous testimonies, and again when it was deprived of the basic right to a clarification of the tragedy and humanitarian support from NGO’s or the media – which unfortunately followed the events through dark glasses.
Dr. Osama Noureddine, Faculty of Economics and Political Science researcher and human rights operative at SAWASYA (Center for Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination), said:
The Itehadia Palace incident is very similar to the notorious ‘Battle of the Camel’. The latter was a desperate last resort operation supposed to quell the January 25 revolution in Tahrir Square; and it failed. The Itehadia anti-Morsi offensive was also a desperate last ditch battle intended for groups of thugs to storm and occupy the Presidential Palace; and it too failed – after spilling the blood of many unarmed demonstrators.
Itehadia events became a crisis after pro-President youths received serious and even fatal injuries from teargas bombs, live bullets and birdshots, Molotov cocktails and other types of fire-bombs, as well as stones and knives used by anti-Morsi ‘protesters’. What I can say for certain is that some people in the ‘anti’ camp did use weapons in a way that indicates an organized bunch of thugs and criminals were at play. We must be told with no further delay just who are the masterminds behind those thugs and the murderous attacks.
I really am baffled at some of human rights reports that adopt the view of the President’s opponents, and try to exaggerate the testimonies of the opposition without regard to the views of those who lost at least ten of their youths, with more than a thousand injured in acts of violence against them perpetrated by the opposition.
I refuse to describe as protesters outlaws who use all kinds of weapons to commit acts of violence. They are more like Gaddafi’s mercenaries or Assad’s Shabbiha (thugs) than any kind of political opposition.
Ayman Abdul-Ghani, Brotherhood leader, spoke about fellow journalist Husseini Abu-Deif and the situation on the ground as he saw it outside the Presidential Palace, saying:
Husseini Abu-Deif was present among media professionals amid the ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters, in front of Itehadia Palace. There were no media correspondents on the other side.
In his testimony to the Freedom and Justice newspaper, Abdul-Ghani said the Brotherhood had inspection committees making sure no weapons of any kind were allowed on the scene, to ensure the safety of everyone.
He pointed that the anti-Morsi camp did not suffer any injuries, and that all the injured were from the pro-President side. This means that the violence was caused by one obvious party.
The Brotherhood leader further pointed that the aggressors and criminals were afraid of photographers. They therefore forced them out of the scene by all means, including birdshots.
In televised statements, Dr. Ahmed Aref, Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) spokesman at that time, and operative in charge of following up the cases of martyrs and injured persons in Heliopolis Hospital near the Presidential Palace, said that the number of wounded Brotherhood youths is more than a thousand, most of whom have been discharged from hospitals after initial treatment, but there are still many cases of youths in critical conditions.
Incredulous, Aref asked: Is it possible pro-President demonstrators attacked and – sometimes fatally – injured themselves?
Describing the political scene as a situation between supporters and opponents of the President is just not right, and as such unacceptable. Also, the number of Morsi supporters was clearly a lot more than the opponents. Furthermore, many anti-Morsi protesters withdrew from the scene after 7pm, including Myrna Imad, the Coptic girl the opposition claimed was killed, only for her to deny that later.
Aref added: We were arrested and tortured in prisons and detention centers, in the not so old days of ousted Mubarak. We never used violence then. Likewise, we never used violence in recent events, despite the loss of life and limb we suffered.
Aref said: This blood was spilled on the threshold of the presidential palace in the absence of security forces, in fact, with their complicity in many obvious ways, while only a handful of Presidential Guards were inside the palace walls.
Regarding the popular committees set up around the presidential palace, accused of launching attacks against demonstrators, Aref said: Remember why popular committees were set up during the days of the revolution.
During the eighteen days of the Egyptian January 25 revolution, popular committees were set up around Tahrir Square to protect it from attacks by thugs’ intent on creating chaos and killing revolutionary youths.
However, the chaos that hit Itehadia Palace area, according to numerous witnesses’ testimonies, meant that those popular committees did apprehend a few protesters along with criminal thugs responsible for murders and mayhem, amid tremendous psychological pressure on popular committee members who saw their unarmed fellow pro-president demonstrators killed and seriously injured.
According to the testimony of Ahmed Subaie, journalist and media advisor to the Freedom and Justice Party who was on the scene doing his professional duties, he personally intervened to release leftist opponents who had been arrested by mistake amid the chaos of thug attacks and violence.
Wounded Brotherhood Youth, the Story is Not Dead
Injured Brotherhood youth tell another story which is very much still alive. But biased media affiliated with the corrupt former regime or opposition parties has completely ignored them.
Those youths did submit a formal report to the Public Prosecutor Talaat Abdullah, who commissioned Justice Ibrahim Saleh, Heliopolis Chief Prosecutor to investigate more than 100 incident reports submitted by members of the Muslim Brotherhood injured at the hands of thugs in front of Itehadia Palace on Wednesday, the fifth of December.
In their incident statements, injured Brotherhood youths said they were in peaceful demonstrations in support of President Morsi’s Constitutional Decrees, and were suddenly attacked by groups of thugs armed with knives, Molotov cocktails, stones, and live bullets, injuring hundreds and killing ten Muslim Brotherhood members, eight on impact, and two that succumbed to their injuries two days later.
Nasser Al-Hafi, member of the FJP Legal Committee, said that lawyers were surprised by the public prosecutor’s decision to acquit and release more than 100 suspects – perpetrators of many deaths and injuries in pro-Morsi demonstrators.
Dealing with thugs with this indulgent leniency caused a legal crisis in Egypt recently. The Egyptian Public Prosecutor transferred Justice Mustafa Khater attorney general for East Cairo prosecution service, after Khater took charge of the investigation in the Itehadia suspects and quickly released them for lack of incriminating evidence.
Here is a link to a video of an Itehadia demonstrator who lost his left eye.
"This is Ayman Sayed, a Muslim Brotherhood youth from Shubra Al-Khaima who was hit in his left eye by birdshot during Itehadia clashes. Doctors operated on his injured eye, but said he will not be able to see with that eye any more. Like Sayed, there are hundreds of Brotherhood youths who were injured in those same violent events".
Sayed says: I was at Itehadia Presidential Palace to show support for President Morsi’s Decrees. We were viciously attacked by thugs who do not recognize or respect the lowest standards of human rights. They had firearms, Molotov cocktails, teargas bombs and knives, while we were completely unarmed.
Dr. Osama Noureddine told Ikhwanweb: This situation is totally unacceptable. These eyes were not just injured spontaneously . Both the media and human rights organizations must show the world the tragedy these youths will suffer for life because of the acts of violence by heavily armed outlaws who cannot be described in any way at all as demonstrators.
Dr. Noureddine stresses that there is a shameful silence about the violent attacks against the Muslim Brotherhood around Itehadia Presidential Palace, and that the incident needs to be further documented for the whole world, which should not remain silent on the killing and injuring of more than a thousand Muslim Brotherhood members who were demonstrating peacefully in support of Egypt’s democratically elected President.
Noureddine further demanded that opposition demonstrators must report thugs who infiltrated the ranks of peaceful protesters to violate the most basic of human rights.
Misr 25 satellite TV channel, the only TV channel that documented testimonies from inside hospitals, aired interviews with injured youths. Khaled Khattab before entering the operating room to have a bullet extracted from his thigh.
Khattab said: We were suddenly hit with live bullets and birdshots. When the prosecutor asked me, I accused opposition leaders who instigated strife and sedition in Egypt.
Hisham Kamel, who resides in Al-Haram area in Giza Governorate, was also wounded when a bullet shattered his foot.
Kamel said: When anti-Morsi protesters marched in front of the Presidential Palace before Wednesday, we did not go to demonstrate against them. So, later on, when we came, we were surprised to see them come over, while we were still there. Then, they shot us with live bullets.
According to Ikhwanweb, in the days before and after Itehadia clashes, there were concerted efforts by opposition to impose a new reality by attempting to monopolize all liberty squares across Egypt, especially Tahrir Square, preventing supporters of the President from exercising their right to demonstrate.
The Brotherhood and other pro-Morsi groups postponed million-man marches and rallies that they later held outside Cairo University rather than in Tahrir Square. When Brotherhood and supporters moved to back in the vicinity of the Itehadia Palace, opponents insisted on coming to confront them.
This repressive approach to the freedom to demonstrate and express views was never before used by the opposition. Nevertheless, the President’s supporters are very clearly more numerous.
Yasser Wagdi was injured by a bullet that penetrated his intestines. Having undergone several operations to save his life, he spoke with great difficulty, saying: We were ambushed by thugs who attacked us with teargas bombs and live bullets; but we had absolutely no weapons.
Wagdi urged the media to come down and see that the majority of the injured and the martyrs are Muslim Brotherhood youths, and to talk about their tragedies which are being kept out of sight.
Wagdi further refused that thugs who used teargas bombs would be called ‘demonstrators’.
In pain, Wagdi wondered: Does difference in political points of view means I get killed?
On the FJP official website, Amr Maghawri, civil engineer and a Brotherhood youth, said he was wounded in the presidential palace clashes, and that he and his colleagues went there to defend State institutions.
He added: I arrived outside Itehadia Palace at five o’clock in the afternoon. I found the President’s opponents standing next to the palace walls pouring most obscene abuse at Egypt’s elected president. But they walked away from the area about six o’clock.
Half an hour later, armed men marched in and started attacking us with stones. We tried to create human chains to protect women and children. Shortly, opposition thugs attacked us with various firearms, including birdshot, and even Molotov cocktails. Violence escalated against us dramatically very fast, especially when we got to nearby Roxy Square. This was a trap, an ambush waiting for us. It was then that I heard and saw a Brotherhood youth die, hit by a live bullet.
Maghawri went on: What struck my attention – and suspicion – the most was teargas bombs which thugs threw at us. At that moment, I realized those were no revolutionaries, but part of an organized conspiracy to undermine the legitimacy of President Morsi. Then, at ten o’clock, I got hit by a stone in my face. It cut my eyebrow and damaged the retina of my left eye. I was taken to hospital, where I underwent an eye operation.
More Moving Testimonies by Muslim Brotherhood Victims
On Moraselon (Reporters) website published testimonies by several victims affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood who gvve their accounts of the bloody day.
Salah Adel Abu-Hamida, student at Al-Azhar University – east of Cairo, was wounded by birdshots in his arm and foot.
Mohamed Abdel-Raouf, computer engineer – a Brotherhood youth, suffered a dislocated shoulder after thugs beat him with an iron bar.
Abdel-Raouf said he was about to enter the area surrounding the presidential palace, through Salah Salem Street, when he was ambushed by large numbers of thugs who rushed towards him wielding all kinds of weapons. He stressed that the thugs he saw do not look anything like civilized demonstrators or protesters, but much like gangsters, drug-addicts and criminals.
Ahmed Fouad Abdel-Rahman, 40 years old, tells what he saw in Mirghani Street, where he was wounded, saying:
At about half past eight on Wednesday evening, a large number of thugs went on the rampage. Although supporters of the president chanted "peaceful, peaceful", the thugs attacked us with stones, Molotov cocktails and teargas bombs.
I was next to a gas station in Mirghani Street when they tried to storm the station. We did all we can to defend ourselves against the stones they threw at us. We were totally unarmed. Suddenly, live bullets rang out, directed at the gas station. They used their guns against us while we were unarmed.
Before I got hit by birdshots in my chest and neck, I saw a young friend fall next to me and ambulance staff rush to take him away. Abdel-Rahman said that it was obvious all shots were aimed at the face and neck.
Brotherhood Martyrs Fuel Democratization in Egypt
If an Egyptian liberal or leftist was killed, the world would rise up in ‘righteous’ wrath and indignation. This would also remain for long on TV screens of former regime cronies and loyalists and the opposition. They would label the dead liberal or leftist ‘Khaled Saeed 2’. Now, Muslim Brotherhood martyrs – in the Itehadia incident alone – have reached ten, assassinated a second time by cold media and human rights organizations that ignored them.
Dr. Imad Deeb Abdullah, assistant chief medical examiner and director of forensic autopsy, says – as quoted by Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram:
Zeinhom morgue (in Cairo) received the bodies of eight martyrs who were killed on the scene outside Itehadia Palace in Wednesday clashes.
The autopsy report showed that the martyrs were killed by bullets in the head and chest. Projectiles were extracted from the bodies of the victims and documented and kept for analysis to determine the types of weapon used in the shootings.
The morgue will finalize its report on the killing of those martyrs in the coming few days. Then, it will hand the report over to the competent prosecutor.
Dr. Abdullah said that projectiles extracted from the bodies of the victims were 9 mm, 6.35 mm and 5.50 mm caliber, and that guns and rifles were fired from the front.
He added that every martyr was killed with only one bullet lodged in the head or chest area. This confirms that the shooters had professional experience in the use of firearms.
Brotherhood Martyrs in Itehadia Presidential Palace:
From Suez, Yasser Ibrahim, 39-year-old engineer and MB member, married with 5 children, died after getting hit by a bullet in the face from close range in the Itehadia Palace clashes.
Ibrahim disappeared on Thursday morning, after a bloody night of fighting between the Brotherhood and thugs in the vicinity of Itehadia Palace, his friends tried to call him on his mobile telephone to no avail.
Later, the martyr was found in a nearby hospital, shot at close range in the face. He worked with the Red Sea Ports Authority.
From Sharqiya, 24-year-old Mahmoud Awad was also shot by thugs in front of Itehadia Palace Thursday, he was married with 1 two-year-old son. He had told his friends back home that he was going to Itehadia to support and defend the legitimacy of the elected President and the future of his children and their right to stability in the homeland.
In Dakahlia, tens of thousands of people mourned the martyr Hani Sanad, who was 32 years old when he died of a gunshot wound in his side and another in the chest, again in Itehadia Palace clashes. His funeral was attended by leaders of the MB in Dakahlia and Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) leaders.
From Cairo, Mohamed Al-Husseini, a young MB member, died as he tried to peacefully express his support for the legitimate President of Egypt outside Itehadia Palace. He is the son of MB leader Mamdouh Al-Husseini. Husseini was eagerly awaiting the birth of his first son in a couple of months. But now his son will come into this world an orphan because of the heinous treachery of corrupt regime hangovers.
Also, Mohamed Issa, a young unarmed MB member, was shot dead in front of the Presidential Palace by the treacherous hands of hired thugs of old regime loyalists. His mother holds Hamdeen Sabbahi, Mohamed ElBaradei and Mamdouh Hamza responsible for aiding and abetting those who killed Issa. Meanwhile, Issa’s wife urged President Morsi to insist on his Decrees in the interest of the homeland and the people.
Issa was arrested in the days of ousted President Mubarak during demonstrations Brotherhood rejects constitutional amendments flawed in 2005.
Mohamed Asem also died in the first hours of the brutal attacks on unarmed supporters of President Mohamed Morsi outside Itehadia.
In Menoufia, Mohamed Salam, injured in Itehadia clashes, died of his wounds two days later.
Mourning Mohamed Salam, Dr. Ashour Al-Halawani, FJP Secretary in Menoufia, said that the Muslim Brotherhood gave many martyrs for Egypt, from Hassan Al-Banna, to Mohamed Salam; and that the Brotherhood will not use violence and will not respond to abuse with abuse. Halawani urged FJP and Brotherhood members not to be drawn into violence and bloodshed – since the Brotherhood never taught that approach, and indeed rejects it.
In his speech, Halawani sent a message to politicians: I say to my fellow politicians that politics is not about Molotov cocktails, live bullets, knives and bloodshed. Politics requires dedication to serving Egypt and Egyptians. Politics means giving priority to public interest, and giving a good model for the great Egyptian people.
Yahya Salam, the elder brother of the martyr Mohamed Salam, said: On Wednesday, my brother told me he was going to Itehadia Palace in support of legitimacy. I told him do not go! But he refused. In the evening, hospital management contacted us to tell us he was shot in the head.
On Tuesday morning, Khaled Taha Abu-Zeid, the tenth martyr for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, died of his wounds in Demerdash Hospital in Cairo. He was killed by a gunshot wound to the neck in the recent Itehadia Palace events.
Born on September 12, 1988, the martyr was the youngest son of Dr. Taha Abu-Zeid, Muslim Brotherhood leader in Gharbiya Governorate.
Abu-Zeid is known in his home town as a courteous, generous, humble, young-man with a big heart and as big a smile.
He graduated from the Faculty of Agriculture, at the University of Tanta in 2011, where he majored in agricultural engineering – the same field of specialty as his father. He worked as an engineer and assistant agricultural expert.
The last thing the martyr wrote through his personal Facebook page, before his death, was: "Say ‘Praise be to God’. It heals hearts; lays sorrows to rest".
In a statement, the martyr’s father, Brotherhood leader Taha Abu-Zeid, demanded retribution for his son be exacted on corrupt mass media and a number of delusional political thugs he holds responsible for inciting Egyptians to kill one another.
In addition to the nine martyrs the MB lost in Itehadia clashes, treachery against the Brotherhood, Islam Mas’ood, a 15-year-old secondary school student, was recently killed during attempts by determined thugs to storm and burn the headquarters of the Brotherhood in Damanhur amid feeble, hesitant and suspicious security response and action.
According to an MB statement, the finest young people in Egypt were killed, assassinated by the heinous hand of treachery, hooliganism and terrorism, in a vicious plot to overthrow the legitimate President elected by popular will, and to finish off the revolution and its objectives, evident in the attempt to storm Itehadia Presidential Palace on Tuesday and Wednesday.
In fact, an armed group of so-called opposition thugs or mercenaries was arrested red-handed as its members tried to break into the Palace. They are being questioned by the prosecution service. This Palace is a symbol of the State and its prestige. It is the seat of power in Egypt, the headquarters of the democratically elected President.
Several video clips showed the martyrs’ last tragic moments as well as revealing testimonies about how the bloody events started in the vicinity of the presidential palace, about the attacks on 28 Muslim Brotherhood headquarters and sabotage by outlaws, and about the assassination attempt on Sobhi Saleh, the lawyer and Brotherhood leader.
Why did the Brotherhood Go To Itehadia in the First Place?
A careful analysis of the Brotherhood decision to go down to Itehadia to show support for President Morsi convinced Egyptian journalists and intellectuals of the need for media and human rights organizations to expose the evident plot to storm the presidential palace.
The above video shows Colonel Omar Afifi criticizing the lack of ‘appropriate’ action by NSF members, on bloody Wednesday, to storm the presidential palace, calling them ‘cowards’.
In a report by journalist Saber Mashhour, Al-Jazeera Mubashir (live) correspondent, he showed clear signs of a definite plot to storm the presidential palace, which was prevented by the Brotherhood.
Fahmi Howeidi, independent Egyptian writer who suggested a dialogue initiative in Egypt, wrote an article entitled ‘Fair investigation wanted of alleged human rights violations around the presidential palace’ in which he said:
This is a serious matter that should not be left to suspicions and hearsay, but must be made totally clear through prosecution or security investigations. So far, we have not received an official statement to clarify just exactly what happened. Our only source of information is still what we receive through the media and witness and victim accounts.
Howeidi added: Most of the time, both opponents and supporters were peaceful – throughout the day, and until eight in the evening. But signs of a looming battle emerged later on, after dark.
Verbal abuse devolved into stone-throwing, then knives, birdshots, live bullets, teargas bombs and Molotov cocktails were used. The meeting of the two camps was an implicit call to ‘hidden hands’ seeking to deepen discord and fuel the fire of strife and sedition in order to advance and achieve special goals.
It is no secret that thugs paid and masterminded by unknown parties are the so-called hidden hands. If the absence of police and security forces has raised some questions, this background raises even more questions, not only about the source of the violence, but also about the parties that stand behind it.
Howeidi quotes Abdel-Moneim Abdel-Maksoud, Brotherhood lawyer: If the Brotherhood had its own militia, as falsely reported by the media, and if such militia did go to Itehadia Palace armed and ready for a fight, why so many of them fell, martyrs and injured?
Ultimately, the Itehadia Presidential Palace incident remains unclear – especially after the notorious bloody Camel Battle. It remains the subject of many questions, with hints at ‘hidden hands’, third parties and former regime loyalists who were acquitted in trials for killing revolutionary youths.