An Egyptian doctor tending to the dead and wounded from violence in what appears to be the worse night of viciousness described the scene at his field hospital as “hell.”
“It was hell, it was hell,” Dr. Hesham Ibrahim told a reporter.
The violence started on Friday night and continued into Saturday in Cairo. Dr. Ibrahim was treating pro-Morsi supporters at a field hospital in Cairo.
According to Dr. Ibrahim, most of the dead and wounded had been shot in the head, throat, and chest by snipers. He said some of the wounded had “their brains come out, or their throats cut.”
“It is something you will never imagine, never imagine,” he said. He added in his two years treating the wounded from Egypt’s troubles, the violence which started on Friday was the worst in his memory. He said it was something, “you can’t imagine.” He referred to the violence as “animal like.”
Reports have described the hospital awash in pools of blood. Other reports have said the hospital was “slick with blood.”
The flash point of the violence was the area around Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in Nasr City area where tens of thousands of the Muslim Brotherhood supporters of the ousted president Mohamed Morsi have been staging a sit-in protest.
According to initial reports, this latest surge in violence was triggered when pro-Morsi supporters tried to block the main road and security forces responded.
Gehad el-Haddad, a Muslim Brotherhood leader told reporters when the violence started, “They are not shooting to wound, they are shooting to kill.”
Ahmed Nashar, a Muslim Brotherhood spokesman, at the height of the violence, told reporters,
“When I arrived, bullets were whizzing past my ears.” He added, “Today was just brutal-people were fired at, with live firearms.”
According to reports, more than a hundred people died and more than 1,500 were injured at the Nasr city mosque area.
The US expressed deep concern at this bloodletting in the worst downward spiral in the country since Morsi’s ouster.
Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the violence and called on the Egyptian authorities to “respect the right of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.”
This latest surge in violence may have been triggered after hundreds of thousands of anti-Morsi demonstrators filled Tahrir Square Friday in response to a call by Egyptian army chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, asking them to show support for the army’s action in deposing Morsi.
He told them their presence on the streets would provide a mandate for the army’s involvement in ousting the democratically elected president. He urged them to show backing for what he called a mandate against “terrorism” by the Muslim Brotherhood supporters of Morsi.
Responding to this, Morsi supporters mounted counter demonstrations and refused to leave the streets. Meanwhile, the country’s interim government warned Muslim Brotherhood supporters and those opposed to the military takeover that they would be removed from the streets “in a legal manner.”
Saad el-Hosseini , a senior Muslim Brotherhood politician, said Friday that this was an attempt by security forces to clear the mosque area.
“I have been trying to make the youth withdraw for five hours. I can’t. They are saying they have paid with their blood and they do not want to retreat,” he said earlier.
Experts speculate any hope of reconciliation between pro and anti-Morsi supporters has all but vanished.
Morsi was removed from power in what his Muslim Brotherhood supporters call a military coup.
He has been formally charged with “premeditated murder of some prisoners, officers and soldiers” when he, along with other Muslim Brotherhood leaders, broke free during a prison breakout at a Cairo prison in January 2011.
Among other charges, he is also accused of conspiring with Hamas, the Palestinian group, which governs the Gaza Strip and has strong links to the Muslim Brotherhood.
A court order said that Morsi be remanded in custody.
In the meantime, the Egyptian doctor who described the scene at his hospital as “hell,” stated that casualties at his field hospital continue to come in.
By Perviz Walji