Riots in Egypt
Riots in EgyptReuters

Egypt's temporary President Adli Mansour announced the establishment of a commission of inquiry which will investigate the events surrounding the deaths of at least 51 people Monday in clashes outside a military building in Cairo. At least 435 people were wounded as well in the incident.

Most of those killed were Muslim Brotherhood members, and the chain of events leading to the deaths were being hotly contested by the Brotherhood and the Egyptian Army. The Brotherhood claimed that those killed were innocent, doing nothing more than holding a sit-in against the ousting of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi in what they described as an “illegal coup.” The Brotherhood said that most of those killed were praying when they were shot.

Mahmoud Badia, a top Brotherhood leader, said that the Egyptian Army was clearly interested in instigating a Syria-style civil war in Egypt. The crime of the army in opening fire on innocent protesters was so severe, he said, “that even the Jews have never done to Egypt what the army did.”

The army, meanwhile, said that soldiers were set upon by a mob of Brotherhood members, who were aiming to murder them. In self-defense, the army said, soldiers opened fire, after repeatedly trying to use other methods to break up the riot and protect themselves.

An army spokesperson said that Egyptian soldiers were being “framed,” and that claims that they had shot children were lies. At protests by Brotherhood and Morsi supporters throughout Monday, the spokesperson said, speakers had stressed that the army had killed several children who were among the protesters, and had circulated photos of the dead children. “But this is not true,” the spokesperson said. “They are using photos from the civil war in Syria. The army killed its enemies, not children,” the spokesperson said.

“We were attacked from rooftops by firebombs and bricks,” the spokesperson added. “According to international law, we have a right to defend strategic sites and facilities, which the group was attacking.”