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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Video Shows Civilians Gunned Down in Cairo

Video uploaded to YouTube on Thursday showed a man being shot as he tried to help a wounded protester to safety the day before in Cairo.

As Egyptians continue to count the dead, one day after the military-installed government used deadly force to disperse protests, supporters of the deposed president, Mohamed Morsi, drew attention to video of civilians being cut down by gunfire during the assault on a sit-in near the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in Cairo.

One of the distressing clips, uploaded to YouTube on Thursday, showed a protester being shot as he tried to carry a wounded man to safety. A second, more graphic clip showed the shooting of a woman who appeared to have been recording video of the assault on the protesters. It is not clear from the footage if she was a participant in the protest or one of a number of journalists among the day’s casualties.

Video apparently recorded on Wednesday in Cairo showed a woman being shot as she photographed an assault on protesters by the security forces.

For rights workers and journalists, the process of piecing together a reliable account of exactly how hundreds of Egyptians were killed on Wednesday brought them to a makeshift morgue at the Iman mosque, to view bodies brought there after the nearby Rabaa mosque was torched. Our colleague Kareem Fahim, Heba Morayef of Human Rights Watch, and the journalists Tara Todras-Whitehill and Sharif Kouddous all reported from there that the process of identifying the dead was complicated by how badly burned many of the bodies were.

As Reuters reports, the official death toll of 525 released by Egypt’s health ministry on Thursday does not include more than 200 bodies at the mosque that have yet to be identified. One activist blogger who was present during the raid, Mohamed el-Zahaby, claimed that this might have been the reason that so many of the dead were incinerated. “They burned the dead bodies to not be recognized or get counted,” Mr. Zahaby wrote to The Lede in an Internet message.

Extremely graphic video published Wednesday by the newspaper El Watan, of the charred bodies of protesters killed during the raid on another sit-in, in Cairo’s Nahda Square, offered grim testimony to how difficult the process of identification would be.

Video of burned bodies published Wednesday by El Watan, an Egyptian news site.

Egyptian state television broadcast aerial footage of the Rabaa al-Adawiya protest camp in flames on Wednesday night, along with on-screen captions that blamed protesters from the Muslim Brotherhood for starting the fires.

Video broadcast on Egyptian state television on Wednesday showed fires burning in Rabaa al-Adaweya Square in Cairo’s Nasr City district.

While it is not clear how all of the fires started or spread, it is possible that some of the destruction could have been inadvertent. In video recorded on Wednesday by the Egyptian photographer Mosa’ab Elshamy during the assault on the Rabaa camp, Morsi supporters could be seen feeding fires, apparently to offer cover for rock-throwing and protection from tear gas.

Video recorded inside a protest camp in Cairo during an assault by the security forces on Wednesday by the Egyptian photographer Mosa’ab Elshamy.

A Human Rights Watch video report on the dispersal of the Rabaa protest, recorded on Wednesday as the battle for the protest site was still under way, showed some fire damage but illustrated that the area was still largely intact hours aftert eh beginnign of the assault.

A Human Rights Watch video report on the dispersal of an Islamist sit-in in Cairo on Wednesday.

A video report from Ahram Online, the state newspaper’s English-language site, gave a sense of the scale of destruction by the fires that swept through the protest camp and the Rabaa mosque.

An Ahram Online video report on fire damage to a protest camp and mosque in Cairo.

Late Thursday, the Washington Post correspondent Abigail Hauslohner reported that the authorities had raided the Iman mosque, and were seen removing the remains.