As Death Toll Exceeds 500, Egypt's Military Carnage Unparalleled

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Common Dreams

As Death Toll Exceeds 500, Egypt's Military Carnage Unparalleled

Many asking whether US will withdraw military aid after massacres in Cairo

by
Jon Queally, staff writer

According to Egypt's health ministry, the death toll from the violent raids on pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo has reached more than 525 people and global outrage was cascading across media headlines as the country's military leaders and security forces were blamed for the unnecessary bloodshed.

As Egyptian-American journalist Sharif Abdel Kouddous tweeted Thursday morning:

Speaking to Democracy Now! Thursday morning, Kouddous said the "smell of death" was heavy across Cairo and that Wednesday's events—the most violent in all his years of covering Egypt—would have repercussions for the country's political future not just for years, "but for decades" or more.

Kouddous went on to say the situation on the ground across Egypt was extremely "difficult" and one he felt "will have deep implications for Egypt’s future, not just for years, but for decades to come." Watch the full interview:

"The violent clampdown by security forces has all but ended the possibility of a rapprochement with the Muslim Brotherhood," Kouddous wrote separately in a news report for The Nation.

Though the White House condemned the violence on Wednesday, the Obama administration continued its refusal to declare the military takeover of the country a 'coup,' which critics sharply condemned.

Criticizing both their historic role in Egypt and public statements in the aftermath of the massacre on Wednesday, Chris Toensing, an analyst with the Middle East Research and Information Project, told Democracy Now! that if the United States "were serious about promoting human rights and social justice and democracy around the world, would be not just reviewing its aid package to Egypt, but immediately seeking its termination, until such time as a genuinely democratically elected and legitimate government is in place in Egypt, and until such time as there is accountability for what can only be described as crimes against humanity carried out by the prime U.S. ally in Egypt, which is the Egyptian army."

Twitter reports, including photos, from correspondents and witnesses on the ground in Cairo continued to provide the most up-to-date coverage of events. [Warning: graphic images contained in twitter stream]:

In makeshift morgues around the city, the odor of bodies made the air heavy. The Independent's Alastair Beach tweeted:

Aerial footage from above Cairo showed the impact of a series of fires that began amid the bloodshed on Wednesday:

And many reported on the prevalence of charred bodies in separate areas across Cairo, such as this:

Following a defense of the attacks by interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi members of the Muslim Brotherhood called for a new unity march in defiance of the ruling government.

El-Beblawi said the decision to send state security forces into the camps "was not easy" and put the blame on the protesters.

"We found that matters had reached a point that no self respecting state could accept," he said, citing what he described as "the spread of anarchy and attacks on hospitals and police stations".

However, almost no reports from the ground support that narrative with most journalists—sympathetic to the politics of the Muslim Brotherhood or not—saying the encampments were peaceful and that violent attacks were instigated by police with "no warning."

Al-Jazeera collects official responses to Wednesday's violence from governments around the world here.

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