Egyptian men try to extinguish a fire in a government building that was set ablaze in the Giza district of Cairo yesterday.
CAIRO: Supporters of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood stormed and torched a government building in Cairo yesterday, 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 623 people were killed and thousands 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 Mursi.
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.
The UN Security Council was to meet later yesterday to discuss the situation after a meeting was requested by council members France, Britain and Australia.
The US State Department said it would review aid to Egypt “in all forms” after President Barack Obama cancelled plans for upcoming military exercises with the Egyptian army, which Washington funds with $1.3bn in annual aid.
“The United States strongly condemns the steps that have been taken by Egypt’s interim government and security forces,” Obama said.
“We deplore violence against civilians. We support universal rights essential to human dignity, including the right to peaceful protest.”
His Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Egypt’s army chief that “the violence and inadequate steps towards reconciliation are putting important elements of our long-standing defence cooperation at risk”.
Turkey recalled its ambassador to Egypt for consultations, a foreign ministry official said on Thursday, following Ankara’s condemnation of the crackdown. Egypt reciprocated quickly, announcing that had recalled its ambassador to Ankara
There were reports of protests yesterday, with hundreds marching in Ankara, but no repeat of the previous day’s bloodbath.