By Tamim Elyan
CAIRO: The sirens of City Center mall in Maadi blared on Friday night as tens of armed thugs attacked the mall and looted all the stores inside.
The thugs, believed to be from Al-Bassatine and other districts, broke into the mall at midnight and destroyed all stores and restaurants after looting them and set fire to others causing the mall’s ceiling to collapse and leaving it flooded with water.
Nearby residents and store owners formed groups armed with wooden and metal batons Saturday morning to protect the mall.
“They came in trucks at midnight armed with machine guns and broke into the mall and looted everything inside and went out at 4 am and then started shooting at each other,” said one resident speaking on condition of anonymity.
Store owners tried to collect what remained of their products in trucks in the absence of any civil defense or security personnel.
Jewelry and ATMs were looted completely.
Carrefour hypermarket, however, wasn’t damaged as its metal gates were closed.
“They broke into the restaurant and left everything damaged in chaos,” said one restaurant owner, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“We don’t know what to do now. All we can do is collect what we can and close the restaurant for now,” she said.
A number of residents said that they asked for assistance from army units but they said they couldn’t offer help as they haven’t received such orders.
Earlier on Friday, Shehab and Gamet El-Dowal streets in Mohandesine district saw mass looting as stores, banks and exchanges were broken into and looted by thugs coming from neighboring districts.
Stores surrounding Zamalek club were seen set on fire.
Malls in Cairo have been a target for loots. Hours after police fled the streets, Arkadia mall on Nile corniche was completely looted and set on fire.
Residents in Nasr City told Daily News Egypt that special units from the army were spread near City Stars mall.
Army units prevented an assault Saturday night on the Central Bank’s mint in Giza and shot at thugs aiming at their legs.
In Old Cairo, thugs were reported to attack Children’s Cancer hospital and attempting to loot it.
Police personnel disappeared from the streets Friday night before army units taking over the streets gradually.