CAIRO (AP) - Witnesses say that Egyptian security forces have stormed a Cairo mosque after firing tear gas at hundreds of Islamists supporters of the country's ousted president barricaded inside.
Local journalist Shaimaa Awad told The Associated Press on Saturday that security forces rounded up protesters inside al-Fatah mosque, located in Cairo's central Ramses Square.
The sound of gunfire could be heard in the background.
Egypt's official news agency MENA reported that gunmen opened fire on security forces from the mosque's minaret. Local television stations broadcast live footage of soldiers firing assault rifles at the minaret.
The mosque served as a field hospital and morgue following clashes Friday in the area. The protesters barricaded themselves inside overnight out of fears of being beaten by vigilante mobs or being arrested by authorities.
Authorities say police in Cairo are negotiating with people barricaded in a mosque and promising them safe passage if they leave.
Small groups have been seen emerging, but more are believed to be still holed up inside.
Muslim Brotherhood supporters of Egypt's ousted Islamist president are vowing to defy a state of emergency with new protests today, adding to the tension.
Hundreds of people had barricaded themselves overnight inside the al-Fatah mosque, shoving furniture against the doors to stop police from breaking their way in.
Marches in Cairo yesterday devolved into the fiercest street battles that the capital has seen in more than two years with more than 80 people were killed. Police and armed vigilantes shot it out with Muslim Brotherhood-led protesters.
The Muslim Brotherhood's "Day of Rage" was ignited by anger at security forces for clearing two sit-in demonstrations, leaving hundreds dead.