Egypt security forces launch decisive assault to clear Cairo protest camps

Egyptian security forces have launched an assault on sites backing the ousted Morsi, clearing one and besieging another,according to the Guardian.

The crackdown on Wednesday has left scores of people dead and many more wounded, and has sparked clashes in other parts of the country.

The dawn raids in Cairo at the sites on either side of the Nile came after two weeks of ever more bellicose warnings from the government .

Troops, firing teargas and live rounds, quickly cleared the first of the strongholds near Cairo University in the city's west. However, emptying the main hub at Rabaa al-Adawiya in the east was proving more difficult.

Witnesses at the scene counted dozens of bodies amid scenes of carnage and panic. Photographs from the field hospital appeared to show more than 40 bodies laid out on a blood-slicked floor.

"There are now too many bodies to count," said Dr Amr Gamal, speaking by phone from inside the hospital after patients being treated there were evacuated under gunfire.

An official at Cairo's Zeinhom morgue said bodies from Rabaa were being turned away because they had arrived without the right paperwork.

Photographs from a stage at the centre of the Rabaa camp posted online appeared to show two television cameramen with gunshot wounds.

Egypt's military and interior ministry had made no secret of the fact that an assault on the sites was imminent and "Brotherhood" members had spent the past fortnight fortifying approaches and erecting makeshift defences.

As the assault started, security forces offered safe passage to those who wanted to leave and said anyone who remained would be detained.

The interior ministry, whose forces led the assault, later denied that live rounds had been used. Some officials claimed "Brotherhood"members had been responsible for the casualties.

An attack had been expected at any point since the end of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan. However, the pre-dawn movement of troops and armoured personnel carriers made clear that that moment had arrived on Wednesday. Many Rabaa-based Brotherhood leaders slipped away before the assault began.