The American killed during protests Friday in Alexandria, Egypt, was identified as Andrew Driscoll Pochter, a student at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. So far at least seven people have died and 606 been injured in four days of clashes in Egypt, Ahram Online reported Saturday, citing the Ministry of Health.
Meanwhile, speaking during his visit to South Africa, U.S. President Barack Obama said the safety of U.S. diplomatic staff in Egypt was getting top priority as the country braced for massive protests Sunday against President Mohamed Morsi.
“We’re all looking at the situation there with concern,” the president said Saturday at a press conference in Pretoria. “Our most immediate concern with respect to protests this weekend has to do with our embassy and consulates.”
Obama has been under months of assault from his political opponents over the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on a U.S. consulate in neighboring Libya that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
The U.S. Embassy in Cairo will be closed Sunday, which is the start of the work week in Muslim countries. The State Department issued a warden’s message on Friday urging Americans to avoid nonessential travel to tourism-dependent Egypt.
Pochter, a bystander, was one of two people killed on Friday when protesters stormed the Alexandria headquarters of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood party. Pochter was stabbed in the chest while the other unidentified victim was fatally shot. It’s unclear if he was targeted for being an American.
A Pochter family representative confirmed the death of the 21-year-old Chevy Chase, Md., native, saying he was in Egypt for the summer to teach English and improve his Arabic, according to the Washington Post.
Cairo is expected to be more chaotic than usual on Sunday amid a planned a massive demonstration organized largely by Tamarod (“Rebel” in Arabic), a youth group that has reportedly collected 22 million signatures demanding Morsi, who has been in office for one year, step down.
In related news, Egyptian authorities confirmed that a blast Friday during demonstrations in Port Said that killed one and wounded 15 others was caused by a home-made hand grenade that was tossed into a crowd of anti-government demonstrators. Port Said is the main city on the globally significant Suez Canal, which has seen short stoppages this year due to political unrest, according to Reuters.