278 Dead in Egypt Clashes

John Kerry delivers warning in surprise appearance at State Dept.

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 14, 2013 2:15 PM CDT | Updated Aug 14, 2013 5:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – At least 278 people died in vicious battles between Egyptian security forces and supporters of former President Mohamed Morsi, and 235 of them were civilians, according to state TV. Interim Interior Minister Gen. Mohammed Ibrahim said 43 of the dead are police officers. "It's an open war," said one protester. Reporting from Cairo, CNN reporter Arwa Damon said that "what we're seeing right now is just the beginning of what is promising to be a very, very long and bloody battle as the interim government and the security forces try to regain control of the streets."

Secretary of State John Kerry dealt a stern warning to Egypt's leaders today, saying the latest outbreak of violence had delivered a "serious blow" to attempts at reconciliation between Morsi supporters and the military, the AP reports. He urged the nation's interim leaders to cool their heels and restore order. "This is a pivotal moment for all Egyptians," Kerry said. "The path toward violence leads only to greater instability, economic disaster and suffering." Click for more on the deteriorating situation.

Secretary of State John Kerry gestures during a statement on the ongoing situation in Egypt before the start of a press briefing at the State Department in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013.   (Evan Vucci)
An Egyptian security force kicks a supporter of Mohammed Morsi as they clear a sit-in camp set up near Cairo University in Cairo's Giza district, Egypt, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013.   (AP Photo/Hussein Tallal)
Supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi run from Egyptian security forces firing towards them during clashes in Cairo's Nasr City district, Egypt, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013.   (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)
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