Reports from Egypt say at
least 20 people have been killed and hundreds injured in
anti-British riots in Cairo. Initial figures suggest up to 17
British people may have been murdered or burnt to death during the
trouble. About 200 people were injured and some 300 arrested. The
rioting followed last week's disturbances in the Suez Canal zone.
The Egyptian prime minister, Nahas Pasha, has called the
troublemakers "traitors" who were attempting to overthrow the
government by stirring up trouble with the British.
King Farouk has declared martial law in the capital. A dawn-to-dusk
curfew has been imposed and police have been given orders to shoot
Egyptian troops in steel helmets and armed with guns have been
deployed at all key points in Cairo. They are guarding the king's
palace and the British and American embassies.
Most of the British casualties were elderly members of the exclusive
Turf Club, which was almost totally destroyed in the riots. Many
historic paintings of former members of the club were also lost.
Shepherds hotel - known to tourists all over the world - was badly
The rampaging crowds also burned and looted
Barclays Bank, the largest British bank in Cairo.
Anti-British feeling has been running high. British troops
patrolling the Suez Canal Zone have been coming under attack from
The final straw came last week when the Egyptian fighters shot dead
an Irish-born nun after forcing their way into a convent.
The British troops reacted by seizing control
of the town of Ismailia. More than 40 Egyptian police officers were
killed in the attack.
The commander of the British forces,
Lieutenant General Sir George Erskine, said the action had been
necessary to prevent further attacks by terrorists on his soldiers.
The Egyptian government accused the British of
"acts of war" and "not even observing the laws and customs of war"
in the canal zone.