Egypt is on the brink after at least 525 people were killed in mass violence Wednesday as the government cracked down on pro-Morsi sit-ins across the country.
Scores of already-decomposing bodies filled up the mosque in Raba’a square, where deposed president Mohammed Morsi’s supporters had been staying for weeks calling for his reinstatement.
Mohamed Soudan, the foreign relations secretary of the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Freedom & Justice Party, told The Daily Caller the deaths constituted “a genocide of the Egyptian people.”
Soudan said “they killed 2,600 in a few hours,” saying the scale was “worse than the Holocaust.”
“It’s more than the Germans!” he said.
The scene was “horrific,” according to Channel 4 news reporter Jonathan Rugman:
So many dead protestors in the mosque I am visiting in Cairo that my feet are wet with disinfectant and blood. Horrific here.
— Jonathan Rugman (@jrug) August 15, 2013
After the police cleared the square, pro-government crowds promptly raised a poster of the military coup’s leader, Gen. Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi, on the mosque.
Now the gate of the charred Rabaa Adawiya mosque now has poster of Gen Sisi pic.twitter.com/tS6nttUAZJ
— betsy hiel (@betsy_hiel) August 15, 2013
The majority of those killed during the violence were pro-Morsi protesters, many of whom chanted they would die before giving up their cause. Egyptian government sources say at least 40 policemen were killed as well, and charge that armed men were spotted within the pro-Morsi protests.
Among the dead were two journalists — a cameraman for Sky News, Mick Deane, and a reporter for Dubai-based weekly Xpress, Habiba Ahmed Abdelaziz.
Abdelaziz’s cell phone was recovered after her death. The last message, from her mother, read:
“Habiba, please reassure me. I’ve called thousands of times. Please, my darling, I’m worried sick. Tell me how you are.”
As instability rises, sectarian violence is rearing its ugly head.
Churches, monasteries, schools and other Christian institutions have been attacked in 9 provinces, with at least 17 churches torched across Egypt by Islamists.
Many Christians, who constitute about 10 percent of Egypt’s population, now want to flee the country.
“I’m not scared but I’m very sad about the situation in the country — the relationship between Muslims and Christians,” Margaret Naby told USA Today as she walked into church. “There is so much fanaticism.”
In response to the deadly violence, President Barack Obama canceled biannual joint military exercises with the Egyptian Army. He did not address, however, the far more important $1.5 billion of military aid the U.S. provides Egypt every year.