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Egyptian forces raid pro-Morsi camps

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).

Roundup of today's news

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood flee from tear gas and rubber bullets fired by riot police during clashes on a bridge leading to Rabaa al-Adawiya Square. (Reuters)

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood flee from tear gas and rubber bullets fired by riot police during clashes on a bridge leading to Rabaa al-Adawiya Square. (Reuters)

Here is a summary of headlines from some of the day’s major developments.

- Egypt’s Health Ministry raised the civilian death toll in Wednesday’s clashes to 235, bringing the total number of dead to 278, according to the Associated Press. Events turned violent after security forces used bulldozers to storm and dismantle two sit-ins by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.

- Egyptian officials said that several senior leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood have been arrested, including Mohamed el-Beltagy, whose 17-year old daughter was shot and killed Wednesday morning.

Two journalists were killed and at least a dozen more were injured, arrested or threatened during the violent clashes. The 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.

- Numerous reports and images emerged of churches that have been attacked and burned elsewhere in the country.

- Egyptian Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei resigned, saying, “It has become difficult for me to hold responsibility for decisions that I do not agree with, whose consequences I fear.”

- The Egyptian presidency declared a state of emergency for one month, starting 4 p.m. local time on Wednesday. The government also imposed a nighttime curfew in Cairo and other key provinces, to be in force from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. local time.

Health Ministry raises death toll to 278

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.

A Morsi supporter lies wounded on the floor of the Rabaa al-Adawiya Medical Centre in the Nasr City on Aug. 14, 2013. (AP)

A Morsi supporter lies wounded on the floor of the Rabaa al-Adawiya Medical Centre in the Nasr City on Aug. 14, 2013. (AP)

43 Egyptian police officers killed, government says

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.

Video appears to show Brotherhood supporters firing guns

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.

Brotherhood leaders arrested, reports say

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.

Journalists killed, arrested and attacked

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.

Read the full story here.

PHOTO: Security officer kicks a Morsi supporter

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.

An Egyptian security force kicks a supporter of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi as they clear a sit-in camp set up near Cairo University in Cairo's Giza district, on Aug. 14, 2013. (AP)

A member of Egypt’s security forces kicks a supporter of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi as they clear a sit-in camp set up near Cairo University in Cairo’s Giza district, on Aug. 14, 2013. (AP)

Statement from Mohamed ElBaradei

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.

Churches attacked, burned

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.

The Post’s Abigail Hauslohner tweets:

The Wall Street Journal’s Maria Abi-Habib reports from Minya, 150 miles south of Cairo on the Nile’s west bank:

Jon Williams, foreign editor for ABC News, posted this image on Twitter, of a church set ablaze in Sohag.

Video: White House won't call it a coup

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.

Health Ministry raises death toll to 149

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.

AFP: Mohamed ElBaradei resigns

AFP is now reporting that Egyptian Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei has resigned.

In an interview with The Post’s Lally Weymouth last week, ElBaradei said that the number one thing Egypt should do at the moment is stop the violence.

Once we do that, we immediately have to go into a dialogue to ensure that the Brotherhood understand that Mr. Morsi failed. But that doesn’t mean that the Brotherhood should be excluded in any way. They should continue to be part of the political process.

ElBaradei also said during the interview that the killing of 72 protesters on July 27 was “terrible” and that he had called for an independent commission to investigate.

Anything that involves losing lives is a horrible mistake. Whoever started it, whether it was excessive use of retaliation — I don’t know. But we need to make sure this will not be repeated. This is our immediate priority right now. Stop violence and go back to the table and start talking and find a solution. We are condemned to live together.

You can read the full interview here.

U.S. condemns use of violence

“The United States strongly condemns the use of violence against protesters in Egypt,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.

“We extend our condolences to the families of those who have been killed and to the injured. We have repeatedly called on the Egyptian security forces to show restraint … just as we have urged protestors to demonstrate peacefully.”

“We also strongly oppose a return to a state of emergency law and call on the government to respect basic human rights such as freedom of assembly,” Earnest added.

The Guardian has posted the audio from first 15 minutes of the White House briefing on Egypt.

Curfew declared in Cairo

The Associated Press reports that the Egyptian government has declared a nighttime curfew in Cairo and 10 provinces, to be in force from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. local time. Local time in Egypt is currently 5.22 p.m.

An Egyptian blogger who tweets as The Big Pharoah is skeptical about the likely efficacy of the curfew.

Adam Akary, a television producer based in Cairo, has tweeted a full list of provinces where the government has imposed a curfew.

Photo: Taking cover, behind a cooking pot

A supporter of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi takes cover from Egyptian police fire behind a cooking pot at the protest sit-in at Rabaa al-Adawiya in Cairo.

Egyptian police in riot gear swept in with armored vehicles and bulldozer to clear two sprawling encampments of supporters of the country's ousted Islamist president in Cairo, showering protesters with tear gas as the sound of gunfire rang out. (Manu Brabo/AP)

Egyptian police in riot gear swept in with armored vehicles and bulldozers to clear two sprawling encampments of supporters of the country’s ousted Islamist president in Cairo, showering protesters with tear gas as the sound of gunfire rang out. (Manu Brabo/AP)

Reuters: Egypt death toll hits 95

The number of dead from the clashes in Egypt has reached 95, Reuters reports, quoting a spokesman from the Ministry of Health.

“The dead are both from police and civilians. We are waiting to get more details,” said the ministry’s spokesman, Hamdi Abdel Karim, adding that 874 people have been wounded.

More from the latest Reuters report:

At a hospital morgue nearby, a Reuters reporter counted 29 bodies, including that of a 12-year-old boy. Most had died of gunshot wounds to the head. A nurse at the same hospital had said she counted 60 bodies, and expected the number to rise.

The unrest spread beyond the capital, with the cities of Minya and Assiut, and Alexandria on the northern coast, also affected. Seventeen people were killed in the province of Fayoum south of Cairo. Five more died in Suez.

Sharif Kouddous, an independent journalist based in Cairo, posted this photograph of a man sorting through the ID cards of those killed this morning.

Gulf News reporter shot dead

In addition to Sky News’s Michael Deane, a second journalist was also fatally shot and killed in Cairo on Wednesday morning. Habiba Ahmed Abd Elaziz, 26, who worked for Xpress, a publication of Gulf News, was shot and killed during clashes at the Rabaa Al Adawiya in Cairo.

From Gulf News:

Family members said she was shot at the Rabaa Al Adawiya Square in Cairo. Scores were reported dead as troops stormed the pro-Mursi camps.

Habiba was not on any official assignment and had gone to her home country on annual leave.

She joined Gulf News on September 11, 2011, interning as a community journalist for the Readers Desk.

Habiba subsequently joined XPRESS on April 1, 2012 after earning her Journalism degree from the American University of Sharjah (AUS). She covered the police and court beats for XPRESS.

Her younger sister, Arwa Ramadan, who lives in Sharjah, said Habiba was in the mosque at the Square this morning.

Video: Police van thrown off bridge

In one of the most dramatic events to take place in Cairo Wednesday morning, a group of protesters pushed and threw an armored police vehicle off a bridge, as intense clashes followed on the streets below.

Adel Abdel Ghafar tweeted the following image that shows the van in the air as it dropped down from the bridge.

Watch the video below:

State of emergency declared

Al-Jazeera’s Rawya Rageh reports that the Egyptian presidency has declared a state of emergency for one month, starting 4 p.m. local time on Wednesday.

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