Field hospital doctors claim casualty figures are higher than the official death toll of 40 for the Monday morning clashes between supporters of former president Mohamed Morsi and army personnel.
Violence erupted between the army and protesters camped outside the Republican Guards headquarters early Monday morning. Mohamed Soltan, Head of the Ambulance Authority, said that 42 died in the clashes and over 300 were injured.
Hisham Ibrahim, a doctor at the field hospital, said there were at least 50 deaths in a press conference held at the hospital that treated the injured. He also claimed that over 1,000 were injured.
Clashes broke out while protesters were congregating for Al-Fajr, or morning, prayers. Ibrahim said many of the victims were shot in the back because the soldiers were standing behind them as they faced the direction of the Qiblah to pray.
Mohamed Al-Zanaty, another doctor, said all of the victims were bare foot, indicating that they were praying at the time of the attack.
Al-Zanaty claimed that the dead include eight women and at least four children, whose ages range between six months and 11 years.
Head of the Health Insurance Authority Abdel-Rahman Al-Saqa, however, told state-run TV that none of the dead and injured were either women or children.
Al-Zanaty added that some of the injuries had to be caused by explosive bullets because one person’s skull was “split into two.”
Two press conferences were held, one after the other.
In the earlier press conference organised to discuss details of the clashes, Ibrahim said that his field hospital received 400 cases in three hours. “150 of them were live bullet injuries,” he claimed. Chants against Defence Minister Abdul Fatah Al-Sisi repeatedly broke out in the first press conference including, “Al-Sisi is a murderer.”
Several doctors at the field hospital press conference wore blood-stained coats while speaking.
Mohamed Hassan Awed, one of the injured, spoke at the press conference, wearing a bloody shirt as he relayed his testimony. He said that when they heard cries for help: “some of us stopped praying while others continued.” He stated when he went to Tayaran Street he saw army and police personnel fire teargas and live bullets.
Awad added that he saw dozens of injured people and when people ran to assist the injured, they were also hit.
Amr Mahrous, another injured protester, gave his account from a stretcher, alleging that when the assembled heard the gunshots they started running in all directions. Mahrous claimed he was beaten with a baton on his neck and hit by birdshot, after which he passed out.
One speaker claimed that the dead were dressed in security uniforms to deliberately hide their identities; an interior ministry official denied these claims to state-run Ahram.