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578: Bodies pile up in Egypt

Supporters of Muslim Brotherhood stormed and torched a government building in Cairo Thursday, while families tried to identify hundreds of mutilated bodies piled in a Cairo mosque a day after they were shot dead by the security forces.

Egypt’s health ministry says 578 people were killed and at least 3,700 wounded in the worst day of civil violence in the modern history of the most populous Arab state.

Brotherhood supporters say the death toll is far higher, with hundreds of bodies as yet uncounted by the authorities, whose troops and police crushed protests seeking the return of deposed President Mohammed Morsi.

State television quoted the Interior Ministry as saying the security forces would again use live ammunition to counter any attacks against themselves or public buildings.

International condemnation rained down on Cairo’s military-backed rulers for ordering storming of pro-Morsi protest camps after dawn on Wednesday, six weeks after the army overthrew the country’s first freely elected leader.

Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad said anger within the 85-year-old Islamist movement, which has millions of supporters across Egypt, was “beyond control”. “After the blows and arrests and killings that we are facing, emotions are too high to be guided by anyone,” he said.

The Brotherhood has called on followers to march in Cairo later Thursday, while funeral processions for those who died provide further potential flashpoints over the coming days.

In Cairo, Reuters counted 228 bodies, most of them wrapped in white shrouds, arranged in rows on the floor of the Al-Imam mosque in northeast Cairo, close to the worst of the violence.

The mosque had been converted into a charnel house, resembling the aftermath of a World War One battlefield.

Medics pushed burning incense sticks into blocks of ice covering the bodies and sprayed air freshener to cover up the stench.

… contd.

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