Egypt'' PM vows to probe violence in Tahrir square


Cairo, Feb 3 (PTI) New Egyptian Prime Minister AhmedShafiq today vowed to probe the bloody clashes betweensupporters and foes of embattled President Hosni Mubarak as heapologised for the event in the heart of the capital that leftseven dead.

Shafiq appeared on State TV today to speak about theevents that took place yesterday in the Al-Tahrir square inwhich seven people were killed and more than 700 were injuredin clashes between pro-democracy and pro-Mubarak protesters.

"I offer all my apologies for what happened yesterdayand there will be an enquiry," Shafiq told state television asthe fighting on Tahrir raged for a second day.

Shafiq said he was "ready to go to Tahrir Square totalk to the protesters".

He vowed to pinpoint those responsible for the clashesand those who aided the pro-Mubarak protestors to make it tothe square with knives and machetes amid allegations thatplain clothes police were involved.

However, the prime minister insisted the clashes wereunplanned contrary to what many people are claiming.

The clashes began when hundreds of pro-Mubarakprotesters stormed the Al-Tahrir square on camels and horsesfrom the north side of the park.

Shafiq, who became premier after Mubarak sacked thegovernment in a bid to quell the protests, said earlier thatthe deadly unrest would be investigated.

Media outlets have complained that their reportershave been attacked and harassed while reporting the unrest.

The Egyptian PM vowed such incidents will not berepeated.

With just hours left for Friday''s showdown betweenprotesters and the government in Egypt, army today rolled outtanks and positioned soldiers to separate warring pro-andanti-Hosni Mubarak demonstrators.

The pre-dawn firing apparently by Mubarak''s supportersappeared to be orchestrated to evict thousands of oppositionsupporters from the Square ahead of a massive rally tomorrow,also the day when the opposition deadline to the embattledPresident, who has been in power since 1981, to quit expires.

Shafiq as well as new Vice President Omar Suleimanalso made an offer to hold talks with the opposition parties.

The protesters have vowed to intensify their struggle toforce Mubarak out by Friday, and repeated onslaughts on themby supporters of the besieged President appeared to have madetheir resolve stronger.

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