The official death toll in the clashes that took place between the Egyptian military and the Muslim Brotherhood Wednesday has topped 500, and the actual number could be in the thousands.
The Egyptian Health Ministry said Thursday that 525 people were killed a day earlier, when security forces stormed Islamist protest camps in Cairo after a stand-off that had lasted several weeks. However, the official toll only includes bodies which have passed through hospitals – but many bodies are being processed in makeshift morgues and never reach hospitals.
A BBC reporter said that he saw at least 140 bodies wrapped in shrouds at the Eman mosque, close to the main protest camp at Rabaa al-Adawiya Square. The Muslim Brotherhood said 300 bodies had been taken to the mosque. It said more than 2,000 people were killed in the fighting.
A month-long state of emergency has been imposed by the interim government, which took power after the army removed Morsi from power on July 3. A dusk-to-dawn curfew has been placed on Cairo and 10 other provinces.
Security forces succeded in clearing out Muslim Brotherhood supporters at Nahda Square and Rabaa al-Adawiya, at a heavy cost in lives, and remains of the encampment could be seen going up in flames, as could a military armored vehicle. Mobs later carried out reprisal attacks on government buildings and police stations as well as churches belonging to the country's Coptic Christian minority.
Supporters of Morsi plan to march in Cairo Thursday afternoon “to protest the deaths," a coalition of Morsi's supporters said.
"We will always be non-violent and peaceful. We remain strong, defiant and resolved," Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad wrote on his Twitter feed. "We will push (forward) until we bring down this military coup.”
Vice president Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, resigned in protest over the use of force to end the long-running standoff between the security forces and the Islamists.