Death toll after clash at Cairo military HQ rises to 51
Muslim Brotherhood urges Egyptians to rise up against the army
The death toll due to violence earlier today at the Cairo headquarters of the Republican Guard has risen to 51, the head of Egypt’s emergency services has said.
The number of wounded was 435, Mohamed Sultan said.
The military said “a terrorist group” had tried to storm the building.
The Muslim Brotherhood has said the army opened fire while some Islamist demonstrators were holding morning prayer outside the barracks where toppled President Mohamed Morsi was being held.
The Brotherhood has urged people to rise up against the army, which they accuse of a coup to topple the president. The movement’s leaders are calling for peaceful resistance, but the risk remains of fringe elements pursuing a violent agenda.
Earlier it was reported at least 42 people were killed today when Islamist demonstrators enraged by the military overthrow of Egypt’s elected president said the army opened fire at the Cairo barracks where he is being held.
The military said “a terrorist group” had tried to storm the Republican Guard compound and one army officer had been killed and 40 wounded.
Soldiers returned fire when they were attacked by armed assailants, a military source said.
The emergency services said more than 320 were wounded in a sharp escalation of Egypt’s political crisis, and Mr Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood urged people to rise up against the army, which they accuse of a military coup to remove the elected leader.
At a hospital near the Rabaa Adawia mosque where Islamists have camped out since Mr Morsi was toppled on Wednesday, rooms were crammed with people wounded in the violence, sheets were stained with blood and medics were rushing to attend to the wounded.
As an immediate consequence, the ultra-conservative Islamist Nour party, which had initially backed the military intervention, said it was withdrawing from stalled negotiations to form an interim government for the transition to fresh elections. The military has said the overthrow was not a coup, and it was enforcing the will of the people after millions took to the streets on June 30th to call for his resignation.
The Brotherhood’s official spokesman, Gehad El-Haddad, who was at a pro-Morsi sit-in at a mosque near the scene, said shooting broke out in the early morning while Islamists were praying and staging a peaceful sit-in outside the barracks.
The events leave the Arab world’s largest nation of 84 million people in a perilous state, with the risk of further enmity between people on either side of the political divide while an economic crisis deepens.
Abdelaziz Abdelshakua, from Sharqia Province northeast of Cairo, was wounded in his right leg this morning with what he says was a live round. “We were praying the dawn prayer and we heard there was shooting,” he said. He said an army officer assured them no one was shooting, then suddenly they were under fire from the direction of the Republican Guard. “They shot us with teargas, birdshot, rubber bullets - everything. Then they used live bullets.”