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Cairo running out of petrol, food items

By IANS/RIA Novosti,

Moscow: A fuel-shortage has led to long queues at petrol vends in Cairo as anti-presidential protests continued for the ninth day on trot.

The Egyptian capital was also fast running out of essnetial commodities like rice, bread and canned products – although food stores are open – leading to bread riots in places. The supplies were affected by curfew, grocers said.

Only State petrol stations in Cairo continued operating Wednesday. The private vend managers say that they are running out of fuel, as they are unable to pay for the supplies since banks have remained closed.

World oil prices have spruced up to their highest-level in more than two years, amid concerns that the Egypt crisis could disrupt oil shipments through the strategic Suez canal, an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, that connects the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. This canal allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation around the Cape of Africa.

The Egyptian energy ministry, in a statement Wednesday, said that domestic gasoline supplies would be sufficient and warned drivers against stirring panic.

Banks and almost all cafes and restaurants in Cairo are shut down. Food stores are still open but there is a lack of essential food items such as rice, bread, and canned products.

“We are not receiving some goods because of the curfew,” said a local grocery shop owner.

Media reports said three people were killed in bread riots in Egypt over the past few days.

Egypt has been engulfed in violent protests against the 30-year rule of President Hosni Mubarak since Jan 25.

The riots that swept through Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and other Egyptian cities have already claimed the lives of at least 300 people, with another 4,000 reported injured.