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'Helen of Aswan' Leaves 25 Dead

A tribal dispute turned deadly as two families in Aswan clashed over the harassment of a woman...

It was a Helen of Troy situation all over again as tribal fighting in Aswan – sparked by a woman – has resulted in the death of at least 25 people so far. Violence broke out last weekend when a group of students started a fight after a man verbally harassed a woman from another family.

After an attempted reconciliation meeting between the families of Al-Halayel and Al-Dabodeya, who have a long-standing tribal dispute, went sour on Friday, negotiations broke down after a verbal argument and the situation rapidly turned into a full-on shootout between the two tribes. Fighting continued onto Saturday, with both sides using not only gunfire but petrol bombs, and several houses were burnt to the ground before police were able to stop the clashes. Over 40 people were also hospitalided, but the fighting was eventually broken up when the armed forces, along with the executive authorities of the Aswan governorate, intervened, according to Egypt's army spokesman Ahmed Ali, who also says that the crisis is "being contained." Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab and Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim also flew to Aswan on Saturday to handle the situation, and 17 schools in the area near the conflict were ordered to close today by Aswan's governor, speaking volumes of the severity of the situation, which police say is the worst in tribal violence they've seen in a while. 

Update:  Further clashes leave two more dead and four injured as a State of Emergency has been declared in Aswan. The governor has also requested that the president implement a curfew as soon as possible, in an effort to prevent further violence. which extended to the Corniche, with cars also being set ablaze.

Egypt's Ministry of Interior has announced further reinforcements are being deployed to Aswan in an effort to calm the situation. Both tribes have allegedly claimed territory, with images showing the roads leading to Aswan airport being held by the Halayel tribe while railway lines have been blocked by the Dabodeya tribe.