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
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Season three of 'House of Cards' will be returning later this month
tv

News
VIDEO
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
news
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
books...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Sport
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
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: Ventilation Cleaning Operative

£15600 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower