Egyptian security forces killed at least 275 people and injured more than 800 others on Wednesday while clearing two sit-in camps of supporters of the country's ousted President Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood said.An Egyptian Health Ministry spokesman said only 26 civilians have been injured in the morning's crackdown in Cairo, and no civilians have been killed.
The state news agency reported that two members of Egypt's security forces were shot dead while breaking one of the protest camps.The move, around 7 am, came after international efforts failed to mediate an end to a six-week political standoff between Mursi's supporters and the army-backed government which took power after his ouster on July 3.
With the Brotherhood calling on its supporters to take to the streets, the violence risked further destabilising a pivotal Arab nation and endangering hopes for democratic government.The smaller of the two camps was cleared of protesters by late morning, with most of them taking refuge in the nearby Orman botanical gardens and inside the sprawling campus of Cairo University.
However, security forces remained on the fringes of the other camp in the eastern Nasr City district after it showered the encampment with tear gas. Television footage from there showed thousands of protesters congregating at the heart of the site, with many wearing gas masks or covering their faces to fend off the tear gas.A security official said a total of 200 protesters were arrested from both sites on Wednesday.
There was no immediate official confirmation of the deaths at Rabaa al-Adawiya, where thousands of Morsi supporters who have been gathered for six weeks awoke to an army operation and police helicopters circling the site.One witness said he saw 15 bodies at a field hospital beside the camp where bulldozers cleared the protesters' tents.
"It is nasty inside, they are destroying our tents. We can't breath inside and many people are in hospital," Murad Ahmed told a Reuters correspondent on the edge of the sprawling camp, where Muslim Brotherhood guards had positioned sandbags in anticipation of a police raid.The state news agency said security forces had started implementing a phased plan to disperse the protesters, which is almost certain to deepen political turmoil in Egypt.
On the other side of Cairo, smoke could be seen rising above the Nahda protest camp after security forces moved in to disperse protesters.More than 300 people have already died in political violence since the army overthrew Morsi on July 3, including dozens of his supporters killed by security forces in two separate earlier incidents.