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Egypt crisis: Cairo death toll 'could rise significantly'
Fears are growing that the death toll from Egypt's crackdown on opposition protests on Wednesday could rise significantly as activists discover makeshift morgues across the city.
Louisa Loveluck and Damien McElroy
15 August 2013 • 1:20pm
Egypt's health ministry staes that 525 people were killed throughout the country, plus 43 police officers but the figures are not believed to include the bodies lined up in mosques and halls controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood. It also estimates that 3717 were injured in the clashes.
Hundreds of bodies are laid side-by-side in the el-Imam mosque, a short distance away from the Rabaa el Adaweya that was the main protest site.
A man walks inside the burnt Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque (EPA)
According to Human Rights Watch, there are 235 bodies in the mosque in total. The shroud covered bodies are lined up end to end and are not yet believed to have been included in the government's official death toll. The scene inside is one of desperate grief. Families are gathered around the bodies of their relatives.
Amnesty International said the scenes are deeply distressing:
Mohammed Fathallah, a Health Ministry official, said he had no knowledge of the bodies at the el-Iman mosque.
People at el-Imam said that the corpses were taken from the encampment, as it was cleared yesterday. "This is my wife," says Saad Muhammed Abdel Gaid. "She had stayed at Rabaa since the start. I was not with her when she died." He stops, lost for words.
Ahmed Eid, a young accountant, lies shrouded on the floor. He also died in the encampment. "I am so sad for my brother," Mohamed Eid tells me, "but I am happy he became a martyr. We want to try all the killers who caused the massacre."
A man stands amidst the debris at Rabaa al-Adawiya sqaure in Cairo (AFP/Getty Images)
More bodies are piled up at Nuri Khatab mosque and Mostafa Mahmoud mosque, reports said. The Muslim Brotherhood has said there were 2,200 dead overall and more than 10,000 wounded.
The Brotherhood, the Islamist movement of deposed president Mohammad Morsi, said a march was planned from the Al-Iman mosque in the capital "to protest the death of their relatives".
Bodies of protesters who died in clashes the day before at the al-Imene mosque in Cairo (EPA)
The call came after a tense night, following the army-backed interim government's decision to impose a month-long, nationwide state of emergency and curfews in 14 provinces.
In Cairo, trucks cleared debris from the charred sites of the Rabaa al-Adawiya and Nahda square protest camps, occupied for weeks by Morsi loyalists, paralysing the area.
The damage inside Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in Cairo (AFP/Getty Images)
Posters of Morsi were strewn next to burnt tins of food, as light traffic returned to the streets.
Pro-Morsi demonstrators have started to march from the el-imam mosque, now a makeshift morgue for more than 200 of those who died at Rabaa el Adaweya yesterday. The marchers clutch posters of the ousted president and direct their chants at the security services: "You killed our sons; we will see you tomorrow."
For an estimate of the scope of violence on Wednesday, see here:
One military official said that while sit-ins like the main one outside the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in Cairo would no longer be tolerated, marches may be in spite of the state of emergency.
Funerals of those killed will also be held throughout the day, and on Friday, the main Muslim day of prayer, anger could spill on to the streets.
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