Over 200 dead after Egypt forces crush protesters
Updated: 2013-08-15 06:29
A US official told Reuters that Washington was considering cancelling the biennial "Bright Star" joint military exercise with Egypt, due this year, after the latest violence, in what would be a direct snub to the Egyptian armed forces.
Violence rippled out from Cairo, with Morsi supporters and security forces clashing in the cities of Alexandria, Minya, assiut, Fayoum and Suez and in Buhayra and Beni Suef provinces.
The bloodshed also effectively ended for now the open political role of the Brotherhood, with the harshest crackdown on a movement that survived underground for 85 years to emerge after the 2011 uprising and win every election held since.
Security officials initially said senior Brotherhood figures Mohamed El-Beltagi and Essam El-Erian had been arrested, joining Morsi himself and other Brotherhood leaders in jail, but later acknowledged they had not been captured. Beltagi's 17-year-old daughter was among the dead.
Beltagi warned of wider conflict, and urged people to take to the streets to oppose the head of the armed forces, who deposed Morsi on July 3 following mass protests.
"I swear by God that if you stay in your homes, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will embroil this country so that it becomes Syria. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will push this nation to a civil war so that he escapes the gallows."
ElBaradei's political movement, the anti-Islamist National Salvation Front, did not share his qualms, declaring that "Egypt has held its head high in the sky announcing victory over political groups that abuse religion".
Since Morsi was toppled, the security forces had twice before killed scores of protesters in attempts to drive Morsi's followers off the streets. But they had held back from a full-scale assault on the tented camp where followers and their families have lived behind makeshift barricades.
After the assault on the camp began, desperate residents recited Koranic verses and screamed "God help us! God help us!" while helicopters hovered overhead and armoured bulldozers ploughed over their makeshift defences.
Reuters journalists on the scene saw masked police in dark uniforms pour out of police vans with sticks and tear gas canisters. They tore down tents and set them ablaze.
"They smashed through our walls. Police and soldiers, they fired tear gas at children," said Saleh Abdulaziz, 39, a secondary school teacher clutching a bleeding wound on his head.