Egyptian soldiers kill at least 51 Morsi supporters in Cairo massacre (corrected)

Correction: This post originally appeared with a video showing gunmen opening fire on a prayer gathering. This was not the gathering reported below but one that took place in the city of Arish, in the Egyptian Sinai peninsula.

The New York Times reports: Soldiers and police officers fired on hundreds of supporters of Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s ousted Islamist president, as they prayed before dawn on Monday during a protest outside the facility where he is believed to be detained, sharply escalating the nearly week-old crisis convulsing the country and further dimming any hope for a political reconciliation.

At least 51 civilian demonstrators were killed and more than 300 were wounded, all or almost all of them by gunfire, health officials said. Dozens of witnesses said the soldiers and police officers had opened fire unprovoked, an assertion that was immediately challenged by the military authorities.

Spokesmen for the army and the police said in a news conference held to defend their use of deadly force that they were attacked first, and that two soldiers and two policemen had also been killed, although witnesses said one of the policemen was killed by a soldier’s gunfire.

It was by far the deadliest violence here since the final days of President Hosni Mubarak in January 2011 when his riot police fought their last stand against the protesters demanding his ouster.

But whereas that battle signaled the fall of a dictator, the significance of Monday’s carnage was as bitterly contested as the future of Egypt has now become since military commanders deposed Mr. Morsi last Wednesday after one year in office. [Continue reading…]

Egyptian media (Al-Ahram, Al-Masry Al-Youm, and Egypt Daily News) refer to “clashes” between the army and Morsi supporters, yet it seems clear from the video above that the deadly shots were being fired into a crowd of peaceful worshipers.

Al-Masry Al-Youm reports: The Freedom and Justice Party, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, called on the international community and international organizations, as well as “the free people of the world,” to intervene to stop the “massacres taking place in Egypt”.

It called for “uncovering the truth about military rule so that there will not be another Syria in the region,” following clashes that broke out between supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsy on the one hand and police and army forces on the other near the Republican Guard headquarters in Salah Salem.

In an official statement on Monday, the party said, “We call on the great Egyptian people to rise against those who want to abduct their revolution with their tanks and armored vehicles even if they have to do so on the dead bodies of the people.”

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