By Ayman Mohyeldin, Ian Johnston and Richard Engel
A son of the leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood was killed during protests against the army-backed interim government, the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party said Saturday as the death toll rose to 173.
Ammar Badie, son of Mohammed Badie, was shot dead in Cairo’s Ramses Square on Friday, the party said on its website.
Egyptian security forces cleared a Cairo mosque on Saturday that had become a bloody stage for clashes between protesters and the military amid two days of violence that left 173 dead.
Security officials Saturday stormed the al-Fath mosque in Ramses Square, where protesters had taken refuge and organized a makeshift field hospital for injured demonstrators. At one point on Saturday afternoon, police exchanged gunfire with someone inside the mosque’s minaret.
The siege on the mosque started overnight Friday, as demonstrators aligned with deposed President Mohammed Morsi and armed men ducked into al-Fath to evade vigilantes and arrest, according to The Associated Press. They stacked furniture near the front of the mosque to keep out security forces and anti-Morsi protesters, a barricade that held overnight.
But on Saturday, military forces and armored personnel carriers encircled the mosque before gunmen positioned on the minaret unleashed bullets on the security officials below, triggering a flurry of chaos that climaxed with the ouster of pro-Morsi protesters from the complex, according to the AP.
The raid was prompted by fears that the Brotherhood planned to stage a sit-in similar to those broken up Wednesday in attacks that left hundreds dead, security officials told The Associated Press.
The mosque in the cultural epicenter of Ramses Square had earlier doubled as a field hospital and open-air morgue as a Brotherhood-spurred day of protests spiraled into chaotic violence.
The confrontation between protesters and the military follows the death Friday of the son of the spiritual leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, who was shot dead during protests against the army-backed interim government near the mosque, according to the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party.
Ammar Badie, 38, is survived by his wife and two children. It is not known where his father is, according to Reuters. Mohammed Badie has been charged with inciting violence and faces a trial slated to begin Aug. 25.
A total of 800 people have died over four bloody days in the deeply divided Middle Eastern nation, Reuters reported.
The interim government meanwhile Saturday announced that it is mulling whether to ban the Brotherhood, a long-outlawed political organization that rose to power in the country’s first democratic elections a year ago, the AP reported.
For more on the developing situation in Egypt, visit NBCnews.com