CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian authorities on Thursday significantly raised the death toll from clashes the previous day between police and supporters of the ousted Islamist president, saying more than 500 people died and laying bare the extent of the violence that swept much of the country and prompted the government to declare a nationwide state of emergency and a nighttime curfew.
The death toll, which stood at 525, according to the latest Health Ministry figures, makes Wednesday by far the deadliest day since the 2011 popular uprising that toppled longtime ruler and autocrat Hosni Mubarak — a grim milestone that does not bode well for the future of a nation roiled in turmoil and divisions for the past 2 ½ years.
Health Ministry spokesman Khaled el-Khateeb put the number of the injured on Wednesday at 3,717.
The Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group from which ousted President Mohammed Morsi hails, put the death toll at a staggering 2,600 and the injured at around 10,000 — figures that are extremely high in light of footage by regional and local TV networks, as well as The Associated Press.
In a fresh escalation, Morsi supporters on Thursday tried to storm the building housing the local government in Giza, Cairo's twin city on the west bank of the Nile River. Police repelled the attack, arresting several protesters, according to state television. The building on the famed Pyramids Road, was evacuated.
Near the site of one of the smashed encampments of Morsi's supporters in the eastern Nasr City district, an Associated Press reporter on Thursday saw dozens of blood soaked bodies stored inside a mosque. The bodies were wrapped in sheets and still unclaimed by families.
Relatives at the scene were uncovering the faces in an attempt to identify their loved ones. Many complained that authorities were preventing them from obtaining permits to bury their dead.