Death toll from clashes up to 278
DEBKAfile Special Report August 14, 2013, 10:01 PM (IDT)
Egyptian security forces dismantled the two fortified pro-Morsi camps in Cairo Wednesday, Aug. 14, in violent clashes with protesters. When they spread to other towns, the interim presidency imposed a month-long state of emergency across the country and ordered the armed forces to help the Interior Ministry enforce security. A night curfew went into effect in Cairo and 10 provinces, enforced by the 2nd and 9th army divisions which rolled into the capital.
Early Wednesday, large security forces including Interior Ministry commandoes, carried out their anticipated raids to disperse the inmates of two camps who, for five weeks, refused to disperse until Mohamed Morsi was reinstated as president. Using tear gas, tanks and armored bulldozers, the officers quickly cleared the small camp at Giza, then battled most of the day to break up the larger, heavily fortified site in Nasser City, where tens of thousands of protesters, including many women and children, were encamped.
Western TV footage highlighted the violence and inflated reports of live gunfire, reporting that security forces had opened fire on unarmed protesters from machine guns and rooftop snipers. Those reports stoked Muslim Brotherhood claims of a massacre. Protest spokesmen cited figures which fluctuated between 500 and 2,200 dead and 7,000-10,000 injured. Later, the Brotherhood figure dropped to 300 dead and hundreds injured.
The Egyptian health ministry reported that 278 people had been killed, including 2 security officers, and up to a thousand injured in the day’s clashes across the country.
DEBKAfile reports that Egyptian security force used live fire in two instances: When protesters started shooting police officers with weapons they had hidden in the camps, and against hard-core groups who withstood riot control measures, including huge amounts of tear gas.
Egyptian authorities reported 25 people died in disturbances which spread out of Cairo to Menia, Asyut, Alexandria, Ban Suef and other places. Muslim Brotherhood rioters attacked government and police buildings and, in Alexandria, damaged the famous library. They also torched five Coptic churches.
Sources in Cairo expect the military units which entered Cairo Wednesday night to follow the crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood with further measures. Two Brotherhood politicians were arrested in short order.
Shortly after the state of emergency was declared, the Egyptian high command appointed 19 generals as provisional governors, effectively placing 84 million Egyptians under military rule for the period of the emergency.
It is hard to estimate its duration after the month decreed elapses, because the violent struggle between the military under Defense Minister Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi and the Muslim Brotherhood is not expected to die down any time soon.
Gen. El-Sisi is following a phased plan he prepared in advance for eradicating the Brotherhood as a political force in the land. It entails outlawing the movement and announcing a date for the election of a new president, for which he will stand and which the Brothers will be barred from contesting.