At least 23 people have been killed in tribal clashes in Egypt’s southern Aswan province after a man from one group sexually accosted a woman from another, officials said.
Long-standing tensions between Bani Hilal tribesmen and the Nubian Dabudiya family emerged after the woman was harassed on Thursday, the interior ministry said.
The two sides used gunfire and petrol bombs and several houses burned to the ground before police were able to stop the fighting on Saturday morning, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
Police said the clashes had subsided by the afternoon after they sent in reinforcements to quell the unrest.
The health ministry said 20 of the victims were killed in the fighting on Saturday, a day after a failed reconciliation meeting between the two sides ended in a gun battle that killed three.
Security officials had earlier said the meeting took place on Thursday.
Mohamed Sorour, a health ministry official in Aswan, told Reuters news agency the number of dead had risen to 23 by Saturday afternoon. He said 31 people were hospitalised.
The governor of Aswan ordered 17 local schools to cancel classes on Sunday, the first day of the work week in Egypt, state news agency MENA reported.