CAIRO |At least 42 people were killed on Monday when Islamist demonstrators enraged by the military overthrow of Egypt’s elected President Mohamed Mursi said the army opened fire during morning prayers at the Cairo barracks where he is being held.
But the military said “a terrorist group” tried to storm the Republican Guard compound and one army officer had been killed and 40 wounded. Soldiers returned fire when they were attacked by armed assailants, a military source said.
The emergency services said more than 320 were wounded in a sharp escalation of Egypt’s political crisis, and Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood urged people to rise up against the army, which they accuse of a military coup to remove the elected leader.
At a hospital near the Rabaa Adawia mosque where Islamists have camped out since Mursi was toppled on Wednesday, rooms were crammed with people wounded in the violence, sheets were stained with blood and medics rushed to attend to the wounded.
As an immediate consequence, the ultra-conservative Islamist Nour party, which initially backed the military intervention, said it was withdrawing from stalled negotiations to form an interim government for the transition to fresh elections.
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