08172013Headline:

Bloodshed At Pro-Morsi Camps

At least 15 people are reported to have been killed as Egyptian security forces moved in to clear two protest camps occupied by supporters of deposed president Mohammed Morsi in Cairo. But the Muslim Brotherhood, which backs the protests, put the number of casualties much higher.

Bursts of gunfire were heard and armoured bulldozers moved in. Security forces fired tear gas.

Authorities say the Nahda Square camp in western Cairo has been cleared.

The interior ministry said a mopping up operation in the surrounding streets was under way. Pro-Morsi activists were chased into the nearby zoo and Cairo University, Nile TV said.

Witnesses spoke of seeing at least 15 bodies on the ground, but the Muslim Brotherhood, describing the security forces’ intervention as a massacre, put the number of those killed at more than 100.

At least two members of the security forces were among the dead and nine were injured, officials say.

Supporters of Mr Morsi have been occupying Nahda Square and the site outside the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in the north-east of the city since he was ousted on 3 July. They want him reinstated.

Earlier, the interior ministry issued a statement saying security forces were taking “necessary measures” against the protest camps.

The statement said a safe exit would be provided for protesters and they would not be pursued, “except those who are wanted by the prosecution”.

The interior ministry is keen “not to shed any Egyptian blood”, the statement went on.

Large plumes of smoke rose over parts of the city as the operation to clear the camps began.

Muslim Brotherhood TV called for people to send cars to the sit-ins to take casualties to hospital.

More than 250 people have been killed in clashes with the security forces in the six weeks since Mr Morsi’s overthrow.

On Tuesday, one person was killed in a confrontation between supporters and opponents of Mr Morsi in Giza after people marched from Nahda Square to a nearby complex of government buildings to protest against the appointment of several military officers as provincial governors.

 











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