Egypt unrest: Over 70 supporters of Mohamed Morsi killed by security services in Cairo

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Police fire bullets, birdshot and tear gas at supporters of ousted president

Cairo

Egyptian security forces shot dead dozens of supporters of the ousted president Mohamed Morsi shortly after the army chief called for a popular mandate to wipe out “violence and terrorism”. Men in helmets and black police fatigues fired on crowds gathered before dawn on the fringes of a round-the-clock sit-in near a mosque in north-east Cairo, a stronghold of the Muslim Brotherhood.

A Brotherhood spokesman, Ahmed Aref, said 66 people had been killed and another 61 were "brain dead" on life-support machines. Egypt's department of health said the official figure was 65 dead. More than 4,000 were treated for the effects of tear gas and gunshot or birdshot wounds, Mr Aref said. "Innocent blood was spilled," he said. "We have gone back 10 years."

Doctors working in nearby hospitals where the dead and wounded were taken described the shootings as a "catastrophe". Ahmed Fawzy, a cardiologist who was working at the field hospital in eastern Cairo, described it as a "crime against humanity."

By early morning there were 28 corpses lined up around the walls of the makeshift morgue. Some had been shot by single bullets to the head, said doctors; others perished after live rounds passed through their necks or chest. More bodies were hauled in later, as supporters of Mr Morsi continued to clash with Egypt's central security services in the streets outside.

Doctors at the scene said they believed more than 100 people may have been killed. If initial estimates prove to be accurate, the massacre ranks as one of the worst single incidents of violence since the fall of Hosni Mubarak. Reports on al-Jazeera said that as many as 120 people may have been killed – a tally that chimes with testimony given to The Independent on Sunday from doctors at the scene.

Egypt's Interior Minister, Mohamed Ibrahim, later accused the Brotherhood of exaggerating the death toll for political ends and denied that police had opened fire. He said local residents living close to the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque vigil had clashed with protesters in the early hours after they had blocked off a major bridge road, and that police had used tear gas to try to break up the fighting.

It was only three weeks ago that more than 50 supporters of Mr Morsi were shot dead by the military close to where the killings unfolded. Mr Ibrahim now appears to threaten a renewed assault on protesters, saying that, "God willing, soon" they will be "dealt with".

Clashes were continuing as police squared up against thousands of protesters close to the sit-in in Rabaa al-Adawiya, a suburb of eastern Cairo. Members of the central security forces fired sustained bursts of gunfire at protesters massing in the open road.

Supporters of Mr Morsi – who are demanding the Egyptian former leader be reinstated following a coup just over three weeks ago – cowered behind makeshift brick barricades as bullets fizzed overhead. Others ducked behind cars or ran for cover as live rounds ricocheted off walls.

In the field clinic, patients who had been shot with live rounds lay on the grubby, blood-stained floor as medics tried to treat their wounds. Eventually staff had to close the clinic when medical supplies dried up.

"I blame General al-Sisi," said one doctor, referring to Egypt's army chief and the man behind this month's popular coup. "They were killing us on his orders."

It is still unclear exactly how the fighting erupted. According to Gehad el-Haddad, a spokesman for the Brotherhood's political wing, it began on the fringes of the sit-in before dawn. Reports suggested that Mr Morsi's supporters had attempted to move beyond the rally's confines towards a nearby bridge, but were then beaten back by the central security services. One video uploaded on to YouTube seemed to verify that account, appearing to show a largely unprovoked line of police opening fire on demonstrators using tear gas.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: SEO Account Manager

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SEO Account Manager is requi...

SThree: Associate Recruitment Consultant - Global Leader - FTSE 250

£18000 - £23000 per annum + competitive: SThree: As an Associate Recruitment C...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Representative

£22000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family run school photogra...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - OTE £42,000

£28000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be joining a leading s...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map