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Thursday, July 31, 2014, 2:57 a.m.
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Family feud resumes in southern Egypt, killing 2

By The Associated Press

This article was published April 6, 2014 at 2:17 p.m.

— Clashes between an Arab clan and a Nubian family resumed Sunday in Egypt's south, killing two people and wounding four, health officials said, leaving the tourist city of Aswan on the edge despite a high-profile government effort to end the bloodshed.

The clashes, which began Friday, so far have claimed 25 lives. Gunfights spread beyond a residential area to outside the local hospital and morgue near the city's center, a few miles from the tourist hotels and its commercial areas.

An angry mob from the Arab clan torched more new Nubian homes Sunday after collecting the bodies of their relatives to bury. The attack pushed armed Nubians into the streets, sparking pitched gun battles. Police struggled to break up the mob outside the hospital.

Residents meanwhile complained of the inability of security forces to halt the vendetta violence. Nubians burned horse carts belonging to the Arab clan in protest.

A Nubian resident reached by telephone said gunmen from the Arab Haleyla clan attacked his neighborhood on Aswan's outskirts.

"We are dying. They are attacking us," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he feared for his life. "There is no government and no police in the area."

The bloody feud began after a fight last week between school students drew in adults, sparking the clashes that turned deadly Friday. Police said the fight was over the harassment of a girl. Witnesses said offensive graffiti written on the school walls fueled the violence.

Security officials say members of the Arab clan are involved in arms and drugs smuggling. The fight took on a political overtone when the impoverished Arab clan accused the ethnic Nubians of supporting the military, while the Nubians say the Arabs back ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi and are protected by officials loyal to longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Local leaders say police were mostly absent from the streets, causing the violence to spread. The governor appealed for the military to deploy troops there. On Sunday, a military official said more soldiers were heading to Aswan.

Egypt's prime minister and the interior minister visited Aswan on Saturday to meet local leaders. Mahlab promised a fact-finding mission to investigate how the violence erupted. But vendettas, particularly over perceived violations of honor, are all too common in southern Egypt.

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