Death Toll Soars In Egyptian Crackdown
CAIRO (AP) – Weeping relatives in search of loved ones uncovered the faces of the bloodied, unclaimed dead in a Cairo mosque near the smoldering epicenter of support for ousted President Mohammed Morsi, as the death toll soared past 600 Thursday from Egypt’s deadliest day since the Arab Spring began.
World condemnation widened for the bloody crackdown Wednesday on Morsi’s mostly Islamist supporters, including an angry response from President Barack Obama, who canceled joint U.S.-Egyptian military maneuvers.
Violence spread Thursday, with government buildings set afire near the Pyramids, policemen gunned down and scores of Christian churches attacked. As turmoil engulfed the country, the Interior Ministry authorized the use of deadly force against protesters targeting police and state institutions.
The Muslim Brotherhood, trying to regroup after the assault on their encampments and the arrest of many of their leaders, called for a mass rally today in a challenge to the government’s declaration of a monthlong nationwide state of emergency and a dusk-to-dawn curfew.
At least 638 people were confirmed killed and nearly 4,000 wounded in the violence sparked when riot police backed by armored vehicles and bulldozers smashed the two sit-ins in Cairo where Morsi’s mainly Islamist supporters had been camped out for six weeks calling for his reinstatement.
Obama canceled joint U.S.-Egypt military exercises scheduled for next month, although he gave no indication that the U.S. planned to cut off its $1.3 billion in annual military aid to the country.
The Interior Ministry said its decision to authorize police to use deadly force came after an angry crowd stormed the governor’s office in Giza, the city next to Cairo that is home to the Pyramids.
Reporters witnessed the burning buildings in Giza – a two-story colonial-style villa and a four-story administrative building, located on the road that leads to the Pyramids on the west bank of the Nile River.