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
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
tvThe Apprentice 2014 final
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
music
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
tv
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
News
Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
people
Extras
indybest
News
peopleLiam Williams posted photo of himself dressed as Wilfried Bony
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
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: Telesales & Customer Service Executives - Outbound & Inbound

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Recruitment Genius: National Account Manager / Key Account Sales

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment Consultant

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick