Egypt: Dozens Reported Dead in Crackdown on Islamists
At least 32 people were reportedly killed on Wednesday morning, according to Al Jazeera, as Egyptian police began a crackdown on supporters of the deposed president and Muslim Brotherhood leader, Mohammed Morsi. Islamists told CNN the dead number 200 with thousands injured, but the government said only seven had been killed and the network was not able to confirm either claim.
The killing took place when police swooped down on protesters camping out in support of the Islamist leader at Rabaa al-Adawiya, eyewitnesses told Al Arabiya. The Nahda Square camp near Cairo University has now been completely cleared, according to Egyptian authorities cited by the BBC, which says security forces are searching for Muslim Brotherhood supporters who may be hiding in a nearby zoo, among other places.
Two members of Egypt's security forces were killed by gunfire while breaking up the protests, the state news agency reported. The news agency said security forces had begun implementing “a phased plan to disperse the protesters.”
Security forces fired tear gas into the Rabaa al-Adawiya sit-in as police vehicles, one blaring a siren, advanced on the protesters. Smoke could be seen billowing from the square, as military helicopters flew overhead.
"It is the beginning of the operation to disperse the protesters," a security official told AFP, confirming that similar steps were being taken at the Nahda square camp.
Al Arabiya reported that security forces were opening up Nasr Street, a road which leads out of Rabaa al-Adawiya, for those wanting to leave camp. He added that some protesters had begun burning tires to block the security forces.
Muslim Brotherhood supporters began to march from Cairo’s Salam Mosque to Rabaa al-Adawiya, as Islamists urges Egyptians to take to streets against what they described as a “massacre,” AFP reported.
On Tuesday night, at least one person was killed and 11 others were wounded by gunfire in clashes between supporters of Mohammed Morsi and opponents in Cairo, Al Arabiya TV reported.