51 Morsi Supporters Shot Dead in Cairo

Army, police open fire on protesters
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 8, 2013 2:25 AM CDT
Updated Jul 8, 2013 10:06 AM CDT
Dozens of Morsi Supporters Shot Dead in Cairo
Egyptian army soldiers take their positions near armored vehicles to guard the entrances of Tahrir Square in Cairo today.   (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Egyptian soldiers and police opened fire on supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi early today outside a military building in Cairo where demonstrators had been holding a sit-in calling for his release, government officials and witnesses said. The death toll now stands at 51, with 435 injured, according to Reuters. A doctor tells al-Jazeera that "the majority of injured had gunshot wounds to the head." There were conflicting accounts of how the violence began. A military spokesman says gunmen attempted to storm the building at dawn, prompting the clashes, but Morsi supporters say the security forces fired on hundreds of protesters as they performed early morning prayers.

Interim President Adli Mansour quickly ordered a judicial committee to investigate the incident, and expressed "deep sorrow" over the deaths, the BBC reports. But he also warned protesters to stay away from the military or "vital installations." The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, meanwhile, said the incident was evidence that the international community should step in to prevent Egypt from becoming "a new Syria," while simultaneously urging Egyptians to rise up against "those trying to steal their revolution with tanks." (Read more Mohamed Morsi stories.)

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