Irish siblings 'in Cairo jail'

Four Irish siblings caught up in the violence in Cairo are being held in an Egyptian prison, their family said. The three sisters and one brother are the children of the Imam of Ireland's largest mosque in Dublin.

Sister fears her four siblings may have been separated

An Irish woman who says her four siblings are being held in prison in Cairo says she fears her 17-year-old brother may have been separated from his older sisters.

Nasaybi Halawa, whose father is the Imam of Ireland's largest mosque in Dublin, said:

The latest we know is that they are in one of the jails in Cairo. But we do not know if they are all together or whether they have been separated - boys and girls.

It is very hard. We just know that they are being held. We don't know if they have food supplies or water, whether they have slept or whether or not they will be released. If they are not released before 7pm then they will have to wait until another day because of the curfew in Cairo which prevents people walking on the streets after 7pm.

– Nasaybi Halawa

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Irish citizen trapped in Cairo mosque: 'We are not safe'

Omaima Halawa, an Irish citizen inside a mosque surrounded by security services in Cairo said conditions inside the mosque are austere with no food, a lack of clean water, dozens of injured people and few medical supplies.

There was a group of ladies who left. When they left they were attacked and taken.

We are not safe.

We want a safe passage out for the four of us. I do not trust (security forces) or the thugs.

They have personally threatened to slaughter me when they see me.

Ms Halawa was taking part in a demonstration when violence forced them into the mosque at about 7pm last night.

Her family is now too scared to leave without help and assurances from a diplomat. She claimed that men outside the mosque have threatened to kill her if she leaves the building.

Irish family 'trapped in Cairo mosque'

Four Irish citizens are among hundreds of people trapped in an Egyptian mosque.

The three women and a teenager are children of Hussein Halawa, the Imam of Ireland's biggest mosque in Dublin.

The four siblings, who are on holiday in Egypt, sought refuge in the mosque after 80 people were killed during violent clashes between supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi and the security forces in Cairo yesterday.

Four Irish citizens are believed to be in the mosque in central Cairo.
Four Irish citizens are believed to be in the mosque in central Cairo. Credit: RTV

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Omaima Halawa, 21, who is with her two sisters Somaia, 27, and Fatima, 23, as well as their younger brother Ibrihim, 17, described the scene in Cairo as very frightening.

"We are surrounded in the mosque both inside and outside," she told Irish national broadcaster RTE.

"The security forces broke in and threw tear gas at us."