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Egypt Violence:Mohamed Morsi has divided the Egypt 5 death / Middle East News Video

Constitutional crisis in Egypt is growing.In clashes between opponents  and  Muslim Brotherhood supporters of President Mohamed Mursi death toll rose to five.

Overnight clashes in Cairo between supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood-led government of Mohamed Morsi and opposition activists have killed at least five people, according to state television.

As the country further descended into political turmoil over the constitution drafted by Morsi’s allies, street battles outside the presidential palace were the worst violence since Egypt’s latest crisis erupted on 22 November, when Morsi assumed near unrestricted powers

It was also the first time supporters of rival camps have fought each other since last year’s uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

An report by state television early on Thursday quoted the health ministry as saying five people were killed and 446 people were injured as angry mobs battled each other with firebombs, rocks and sticks outside the presidential complex long into the night.

The fighting erupted late on Wednesday afternoon when thousands of Morsi’s Islamist supporters descended on an area near the presidential palace where around 300 of his opponents were staging a sit-in. The Islamists, members of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, chased the protesters away from their base outside the palace’s main gate and tore down their tents.

Mohamed ElBaradei, a leading opposition advocate of reform, accused Morsi’s supporters of a “vicious and deliberate” attack against peaceful demonstrators.

Rival sides attacked each other with firebombs, rocks and sticks in the worst outbreak since Egypt’s new crisis erupted two weeks ago.

The Health Ministry told state television that 446 people had been injured and five killed in the scenes outside the presidential complex in the north of Cairo.

The violence broke out on Wednesday after thousands of Mr Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood supporters marched on the palace where 300 of the president’s opponents were staging a sit-in.

Riot police were sent in and fired tear gas but were unable to stop the fighting, which continued until early morning.

Three tanks and three armoured vehicles have been moved outside the presidential complex ahead of a statement from Mr Morsi in which he is expected to address the new climate of unrest in the country.

According to the state news agency: “The Republican Guard began a deployment around the headquarters of the presidency … to secure the headquarters of the presidency in its capacity as a symbol of the state and the official headquarters of government.”

Egypt Clashes:Morsi began to crush opponents of tanks

Violence between the president’s supporters and opponents has escalated rapidly since the first protests on November 22, after Mr Morsi assumed sweeping new powers, leading critics to brand him the “new pharaoh”.

It has been exacerbated by the hasty drafting of a new constitution.

Despite the fighting, the president appears to be pressing ahead with plans for a constitutional referendum to pass the new charter.

Violence has spread to other parts of the country and protesters have set fire to the offices of Mr Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood party in Suez and Ismailia, east of Cairo.

In Alexandria, the country’s second biggest city, security officials said a senior Muslim Brotherhood official was taken to hospital after being severely beaten.

Four of the president’s advisers resigned on Wednesday, joining two other members of his 17-member advisory panel who have abandoned him since the crisis began.

The opposition is demanding that Mr Morsi rescind the decrees giving him nearly unrestricted powers and shelve the controversial draft constitution, which was rushed through last week.

Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel laureate and a leading opponent of Mr Morsi’s, said that the president’s rule was “perhaps even worse” than Hosni Mubarak’s, the former president who was overthrown in 2011.

He accused the president’s supporters of a “vicious and deliberate” attack on peaceful demonstrators outside the palace.

Watch Egypt tanks clashes video

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