Egypt demonstrations
Egypt demonstrationsReuters

The Egyptian Health Ministry reported early Thursday that at least 278 individuals – civilians and security officers – had been killed in violence in Cairo and outside the city. However, according to protesters, the many more people had been killed – as many as 2,000.

At least one Western reporter, Sky News correspondent Mick Deane, was killed in the ongoing clashes between Egyptian soldiers and supporters of former President Mohammed Morsi. A reporter for a Dubai newspaper was killed as well. At least a dozen journalists have been arrested or threatened.

The deaths occurred throughout Wednesday, as security forces attempted to break up groups of protesters demanding that Morsi be restored to office. The U.S. condemned the army's actions, calling the crackdown on Islamist protesters “deplorable.” The White House called on the army to “respect the basic human rights” of Egyptians.

While Egyptian government officials put the casualties in the hundreds, Muslim Brotherhood spokespeople said that there had been more than 2,000 deaths, mostly among its members who are protesting the takeover of Egypt by the army. Late Wednesday, protests spread beyond Cairo to other large cities in Egypt, witnesses said.

A U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity told the Reuters news agency that the possibility of scrapping the biennial "Bright Star" exercise was discussed at a meeting of the so-called "deputies committee," which gathers the number two officials from key U.S. national security agencies.