CAIRO (AP) — It's the biggest death toll so far in the unrest that surrounded the ouster of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi.
Officials and witnesses say security forces today clashed with Islamists protesting the military's move to push Morsi out of office. When it was over, they say, at least 51 protesters and three members of the security forces were dead.
The violence took place outside the Republican Guard building in Cairo. There are conflicting accounts on how it began. Morsi's supporters say they were fired upon without provocation. The military says it came under an assault from gunmen first. Witnesses from outside the protest camp said troops appeared to be moving to clear the sit-in and were firing tear gas when gunfire erupted.
Egypt's top Muslim cleric is warning of a "civil war" in the aftermath of today's deadly violence. The cleric (Sheik Ahmed el-Tayeb) says he'll stay secluded at home until, in his words, "Everyone shoulders his responsibility to stop the bloodshed."
Meanwhile, an ultraconservative Islamist party that had been talking to the new government about taking part in the political process now says it's withdrawing its support for the transition plan.
And the Muslim Brotherhood's political arm is calling on Egyptians to rise up against the army. Morsi had been a longtime leader of the Brotherhood.
177-a-08-(Diane Singerman, co-director of Middle East Studies, American University, in AP interview)-"has to escalate"-Mideast expert Diane Singerman at American University says Egyptians have worked too hard toward a democratic future to allow their nation to fall into civil war. (8 Jul 2013)
<<CUT *177 (07/08/13)££ 00:08 "has to escalate"
169-a-13-(Gehad el-Haddad (geh-HAHD' el-hah-DAHD'), spokesman, Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, with reporters)-"the other side"-Gehad el-Haddad of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice party says military and security forces attacked without provocation. COURTESY: Sky News ((mandatory on-air credit)) (8 Jul 2013)
<<CUT *169 (07/08/13)££ 00:13 "the other side"
171-a-14-(Gehad el-Haddad (geh-HAHD' el-hah-DAHD'), spokesman, Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, with reporters)-"and take it"-Gehad el-Haddad of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice party says supporters of former President Morsi will not give in. COURTESY: Sky News ((mandatory on-air credit)) (8 Jul 2013)
<<CUT *171 (07/08/13)££ 00:14 "and take it"
167-c-14-(Mark Lavie (lah-VEE'), AP Middle East correspondent)-"a civil war"-AP Middle East Correspondent Mark Lavie in Cairo reports Egypt's military is giving its side of a clash that killed more than 50 protesters in Cairo. (8 Jul 2013)
<<CUT *167 (07/08/13)££ 00:14 "a civil war"
GRAPHICSBANK: Egyptian army soldiers in armored vehicle, Tahrir square, Cairo, Egypt, graphic element on gray (8 Jul 2013)
APPHOTO KH127: Supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi protest in front of the Republican Guard headquarters in Nasr City in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, July 8, 2013. Egyptian soldiers and police opened fire on supporters of the ousted president early Monday in violence that left dozens of people killed, including one officer, outside a military building in Cairo where demonstrators had been holding a sit-in, government officials and witnesses said. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra) (8 Jul 2013)
<<APPHOTO KH127 (07/08/13)££