Egypt Death Toll Hits 525 After Brutal Crackdown On Morsi Supporters

By: AP/CBS, Posted by Chris Fisher
By: AP/CBS, Posted by Chris Fisher
The Egyptian Health Ministry said Thursday that the death toll from clashes between police and supporters of the country

An Egyptian woman searches for useful items near burned posters of Egypt's ousted President Mohammed Morsi in Nahda Square, near Cairo University in Giza, southwestern of Cairo, Egypt, Aug. 15, 2013.

CAIRO (AP/CBS) -- The Egyptian Health Ministry said Thursday that the death toll from clashes between police and supporters of the country's ousted president had risen to 525.

Ministry spokesman, Khaled el-Khateeb, told The Associated Press that the number of injured in the previous day's violence had also risen to 3,572. He said the ministry was in the process of updating the latest figures and that an even higher death toll was likely.

The clashes began when police moved to clear two sit-in camps in Cairo full of supporters of Mohammed Morsi, who was ousted in a military coup on July 3. The clashes there later spread to other parts of the Egyptian capital and a string of other cities across the country.

The violence prompted the government to declare a month-long state of emergency and a nighttime curfew in Cairo, Alexandria on the Mediterranean and 12 provinces where violence broke out -- a move which has been criticized by the Egyptian military's most crucial backer, the United States government.

CBS News producer Alex Ortiz, who was in the middle of the violence Wednesday as Egyptian forces laid siege to the protest camp outside the Rabbah al-Adawiya Mosque in Cairo's Nasr City district, said the Egyptian capital was eerily quiet Thursday morning.

CBS News correspondent Charlie D'Agata reported that driving through Cairo's streets on Wednesday night, it looked like a war zone and security was clamping down even tighter.

Most of the wounds Ortiz saw Wednesday at a make-shift hospital inside the Rabaah camp were gunshots to the head and chest, consistent with reports of police automatic weapons and sniper fire being directed at the camp. While the violence was not entirely one-sided -- protesters pushed over a police car, killing four officers, and there were unconfirmed reports that some protesters were armed -- the security forces used overwhelming force against them to clear the camps.

The violence drew condemnation from other predominantly Muslim countries, but also from the U.S., with Secretary of State John Kerry saying it had dealt a "serious blow" to Egypt's political reconciliation efforts.


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