Security forces fire guns and tear gas while knocking down tents to arrest protesters from a pair of Cairo sit-ins in support of ousted president Mohamed Morsi. Post’s Abigail Hauslohner is reporting from Cairo. You can read her report here, and follow her on Twitter.
Watch live video feed from Cairo on Al Jazeera Mubasher-Misr (in Arabic).
The Associated Press reports that Egypt’s Ministry of Health has raised the civilian death toll in Wednesday’s clashes to 235, bringing the total number of dead to 278. The total number of dead includes 43 policemen, according to Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim, who criticized Morsi supporters for firing live ammunition at security forces.
Forty-three police officers were killed Wednesday during clashes with supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi, according to Egyptian Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim.
Ibrahim made the statement during a televised press conference, according to Al Jazeera.
He accused Morsi protesters for heavily and intensely firing live ammunition at security forces. “There was an attempt by Muslim Brotherhood supporters to spread chaos around the country. Some attacked police centres,” Ibrahim said.
Ibrahim also claimed that the way security forces dispersed Nasr City was according to international levels of self-restrain with minimum causalities.
“We acted within the mandate given to us by cabinet to disperse sit-ins and according to plan to minimise possibility of fall of victims. We gave clear orders not to use arms during the process to disperse sit-ins” he said.
A video posted on YouTube by Youm 7, a privately-owned newspaper in Egypt, appears to show supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood firing guns during clashes Wednesday. In the video, a group of men gather on a street corner, while a man in a mask walks out and starts firing what looks like an AK-47. The man then returns to the corner as the sound of gunshots continues in the distance. A few seconds later, the video shows another group of men, carrying backpacks, shooting their guns from behind a tree.
The Associated Press says Egyptian officials have confirmed that several key leaders of Muslim Brotherhood have been arrested, including Mohamed el-Beltagy, whose 17-year old daughter was shot and killed Wednesday morning.
According to the BBC’s Claire Read, the Brotherhood leaders arrested are Mohamed el-Beltagy, Essam el-Erian, Safwat Hegazy, Abdul Rahman el-Bar and Ahmed Aref.
Security source telling BBC following MB leaders have been arrested: Beltagy, Errian, Hegazy, Abdel Rahman El-Bar, spox Ahmed Aref
— Claire Read (@clear_red) August 14, 2013
Two journalists were killed and at least a dozen more were injured, arrested or threatened Wednesday as violence reached new levels in Egypt after security forces stormed the sit-ins by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.
According to the Post’s Paul Farhi, the detained reporters included Reuters’ Tom Finn, who tweeted his arrest and eventual release, and Newsweek’s Mike Giglio, who wrote an account of his detention for The Daily Beast on Wednesday morning.
In it, Giglio said he and several other journalists, including the freelance photographers Mahmoud Abou Zeid and Louis Jammes, were beaten in police custody after identifying themselves as journalists.
Giglio was released after four hours but wrote that “many others, including other journalists, were not so lucky.”
Reuters photographer Asmaa Waguih, according to freelance photojournalist Haleen Elsharani, was shot in the leg while reporting. A mob attacked Kristen Chick, a reporter for the Christian Science Monitor, stealing her phone and notebook.
Among the journalists who were threatened, was Post’s Cairo bureau chief Abigail Hauslohner, who said the police reportedly broke cameras and wiped images from the phones.
“If I see you again, I will shoot you in the leg,” one police officer told Hauslohner.
According to Farhi, New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said it has documented at least 78 assaults on journalists in Egypt from August 2012 until Morsi’s removal from office in early July.
A member of the Egyptian security forces kicks a supporter of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi as they clear a sit-in camp set up near Cairo University. See more images from today’s clashes here.
The Post’s Abigail Hauslohner reports:
In a wordy statement submitted to Egypt’s military-backed interim President Adly Mansour, ElBaradei said he saw “peaceful” alternatives to dispersing the sit-ins, “but things became what they became.” But he stopped short of criticizing Egyptian security forces or military directly.
“It has become difficult for me to hold responsibility for decisions that I do not agree with, whose consequences I fear,” ElBaradei said in a statement as an evening curfew went into effect and clashes continued across the country. “I cannot be responsible for one drop of blood in front of God, and then in front of my conscience, especially with my faith that we could have avoided it,” he said.
He said those who incite “violence and terrorism” — language that the government has used to allude to the Muslim Brotherhood — would only benefit from the turmoil.
Amid the fierce clashes taking place in Cairo, numerous reports and images are emerging of churches that have been attacked and burned elsewhere in the country.
Egyptian news Web site Mada Masr has some details on the attacks:
In Sohag [a city on the west bank of the Nile 245 miles south of Cairo], Bishop of Mar Girgis Church Moussa Ibrahim told Mada Masr that the church was set ablaze by Muslim Brotherhood supporters at 9:30 am in the absence of police forces, despite repeated threats against the church.
The biggest church in the governorate, Mar Girgis is located in Thakafa Square near the Brotherhood sit-in. Three other small churches were also attacked in Sohag but Ibrahim could not confirm the extent of the damage.
A Coptic resident living near the church told Mada Masr that shops owned by Copts and Muslims in front of the church were destroyed. Live shots were heard in the area as citizens began forming popular committees.
Al-Jazeera posted this image on Twitter, which it says shows a church after being attacked and burned in Sohag.
— AJELive (@AJELive) August 14, 2013
The Post’s Abigail Hauslohner tweets:
Hrs befor startd hearing reports of churches torched in upper #egypt, a bystander said 2 me: “this is a war… Upper Egypt will go mad”
— Abigail Hauslohner (@ahauslohner) August 14, 2013
The Wall Street Journal’s Maria Abi-Habib reports from Minya, 150 miles south of Cairo on the Nile’s west bank:
Churches attacked. we spoke to witness in Minya that says statue of Mary desecrated as #Egypt violence escalates, takes on sectarian flare
— Maria Abi-Habib (@Abihabib) August 14, 2013
Jon Williams, foreign editor for ABC News, posted this image on Twitter, of a church set ablaze in Sohag.
— Jon Williams (@WilliamsJon) August 14, 2013
White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday the Obama administration won’t “make a determination” about whether the ousting of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi was a military coup.
The Associated Press reports that the death toll from Wednesday’s clashes in Egypt has risen to 149.
It’s important to keep in mind that at least 72 people were killed less than three weeks ago, in deadly clashes between security forces and pro-Morsi supporters.