Cairo: The Al-Saf courthouse on the outskirts of Giza was subjected to sustained gunfire Tuesday morning after unknown assailants began shooting from outside the courthouse.
They then entered the main hall and continued their assault.
One man was injured in the shooting and is currently in critical condition at Qasr Al-Eini hospital.
The facade of the courthouse as well as the interior was damaged. The assailants were armed with automatic machine guns.
The Saf court is the only court in the area, which was part of the Giza governorate but now is part of Helwan, and also houses the offices of district’s public prosecution. The shooting occurred during a hearing for a dispute between two families in the area.
The dispute was initially over land, and led to an outbreak of violence in which one man was killed. Four members of the other family were on trial for the murder.
A source close to the incident who asked to remain anonymous told Daily News Egypt that the attack was carried out by seven perpetrators who were trying to gain vengeance for the murder of their kin. They were present inside the courtroom when the trial was in session.
They weren’t carrying guns at the time, but attempted to stab the main defendant, which they succeeded in doing, injuring him in the head. During the ensuing chaos some of the perpetrators rushed out of the court and returned with machine guns after which they used to fire in the air.
According to the source, the public prosecutor trying the case and a police officer were also injured. The source added that four of the perpetrators were arrested an hour after the incident when security forces tracked them down.
Al-Saf’s Public Prosecutor and 12 other district attorneys were in the courthouse when the shooting began, after which they hurried to their offices. Lawyers and other people present in the courtroom ran out when the shooting began.
The shooting is a “reaction to the continued harsh rulings of the prosecution office in Helwan and other districts around the country, said Mohsen El-Bahnissy, head of the Association for Human Rights Legal Aid.