With death toll still unknown, clashes continue in Egypt
Clashes between Morsi supporters, army continue in Cairo, Alexandria, with death toll ranging from 38 to 220. EU, UK condemn violence, as Egyptian party calls for Egyptian cabinet to dissolve because 'it is no longer capable of protecting the State's citizens'
- Report: 220 killed in army attack on pro-Morsi sit-in
- Morsi detained over Hamas contact, killing of soldiers
- Egypt unrest: 5 die in Alexandria; hundreds rally in Tahrir
Meanwhile, Reuters reported that more than 100 Morsi supporters are locked inside an Alexandria mosque, where they gather Friday.
According to the report, because of the clashes the protesters barricaded themselves inside the mosque, which has been sealed off by the police and army which claim they only wish to prevent clashes from restarting.
Clashes near mosque (Photo: Reuters)
"They are not shooting to wound, they are shooting to kill," said Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad. "The bullet wounds are in the head and chest."
A Muslim Brotherhood website said 220 people had been killed and some 4,500 injured. A Reuters reporter counted 36 bodies at one morgue, while health officials said there were a further 21 corpses in two nearby hospitals.
Activists rushed blood-spattered casualties into a makeshift hospital, some were carried in on planks or blankets. One ashen teenager was laid out on the floor, a bullet hole in his head.
Egypt's Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim told reporters only 21 had died and denied police had opened fire, accusing the Brotherhood of exaggerating for political ends. He also claimed that some 51 members of the security forces were also wounded during the fighting.
Tahrir Square (Photo: AFP)
Ibrahim said local residents living close to the Rabaa al-Adawia mosque vigil had clashed with protesters in the early hours after they had blocked off a major road bridge. He said that police had used teargas to try to break up the fighting.
Wounded taken to makeshift hospital (Photo: AP)
The final death toll is still unknown, but well over 200 people have been killed in violence since the army toppled Morsi on July 3, following huge protests against his year in power. The army denies accusations it staged a coup, saying it intervened to prevent national chaos.
In any case, if the Brotherhood's numbers are correct then the incident would constitute one of the bloodiest days in Egypt's recent history.
The battle over numbers did not stop at the death toll. The Egyptian army claimed that some 35 million Egyptians took to the streets yesterday. If the number is true, it means that one of every three Egyptians took part in a demonstration Friday. Egypt is the most populated country in the region.
Clashes continue (Photo: Reuters)
The clashes also irked the concern of the anti-Morsi Islamist Nour Party, whose support of the army allowed it to consolidate public support against Morsi's regime.
A party spokesperson said in a statement that the night's event were a "new massacre." According to Yunis Mahyun, those in charge of Egypt must take responsibility, "they are responsible first and foremost to Allah, and then to the Egyptian people."
The spokesman further demanded "to immediately halt those responsible and bring them to justice."
The Strong Egypt Party, headed by Muslim Brotherhood afilaited Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh also criticized the night's violence, demanding the cabinet disperse itself because "it is no longer capable of protecting the State's citizens. It seems that security forces prefer to kill citizens instead of fighting terror," a party statement said.
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton "deeply deplores" deaths during demonstrations in Egypt and urges all sides to halt violence, the EU said on Saturday.
"(Ashton) is following with concern the latest developments in Egypt and deeply deplores the loss of life during yesterday's demonstrations ... She also calls on all actors to refrain from violence and to respect the principles of peaceful protest and non-violence," a spokeswoman for Ashton said.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague also condemned the use of force against protesters during deadly clashes in Cairo and accused Egyptian security forces of using live rounds.
Hague also called on Egyptian authorities to either release or charge all political leaders detained since the army toppled Islamist president Mohamed Morsi on July 3. Morsi himself remains in detention. "I am deeply concerned by recent events in Egypt, and condemn the use of force against protesters which has led to the loss of lives," Hague said.
'Man, people were just dropping'
Brotherhood leaders appealed for calm on Saturday, but activists at the Rabaa al-Adawia mosque vigil voiced fury.
"The people want the execution of Sisi," a cleric shouted to the crowd from a stage by the mosque. "The people want the execution of the butcher."
Interior Minister Ibrahim said the pro-Mursi sit-ins would "God willing, soon ... be dealt with" based on a decision by a public prosecutor, who is reviewing complaints from local residents unhappy with the huge encampment on their doorstep.
Witnesses said police first fired rounds of teargas at Brotherhood protesters gathered on a boulevard leading away from the Rabaa mosque, with live shots ringing out soon afterwards.
"There were snipers on the rooftops, I could hear the bullets whizzing past me," said Ahmed el Nashar, 34, a business consultant, choking back his tears. "Man, people were just dropping."
Dr. Ibtisam Zein, overseeing the Brotherhood morgue, said most of the dead were hit in the head, some between the eyes.
The bodies were wrapped in white sheets and laid on the floor, their names scrawled on the shrouds. A cleaner busily mopped the floor, washing away pools of blood.
Brotherhood activists at Rabaa said they would not be cowed and warned of worse bloodshed if the security forces did not back down. "We will stay here until we die, one by one," said Ahmed Ali, 24, helping treat casualties at the field hospital.
"We have the examples of Algeria and Syria in our minds. We don't want it to become a civil war. If we take up arms it might become one. This is a religious belief."
There was little mention of the violence on Egypt's two state television channels, which broadcast weather reports and a talk show on Saturday morning. All three state newspapers headlined their morning editions with Friday's rallies, saying Egyptians had given Sisi the support he had asked for.
"The people give the army and the police a mandate to confront terrorism," said a strap headline on the bottom of a broadcast on the state's Nile TV.
Reuters and AFP contributed to this report
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop