CAIRO (AP) — Egypt is bracing for more violence after the Muslim Brotherhood called for nationwide marches after Friday prayers and a "day of rage" to denounce this week's unprecedented bloodshed in the security forces' assault on the supporters of the country's ousted Islamist president that left more than 600 dead.
The government has authorized the use of deadly force against protesters targeting police and state institutions while the international community has urged both sides to show restraint and end the turmoil engulfing the nation.
At least 638 people were confirmed killed and nearly 4,000 wounded in Wednesday's violence, sparked when riot police backed by armored vehicles, snipers and bulldozers smashed the two sit-ins in Cairo where ousted President Mohammed Morsi's supporters had been camped out for six weeks to demand his reinstatement.
It was the deadliest day by far since the 2011 popular uprising that overthrew autocratic ruler Hosni Mubarak and plunged the country into more than two years of instability.
The Health Ministry said that 288 of those killed were in the largest protest camp in Cairo's Nasr City district, while 90 others were slain in a smaller encampment in Giza, near Cairo University. Others died in clashes that broke out between Morsi's supporters and security forces or anti-Morsi protesters elsewhere in the Egyptian capital and other cities.
Violence spread on Thursday, with government buildings set afire, policemen gunned down and scores of Christian churches attacked. An angry crowd stormed the governor's office in Giza, the city next to Cairo that is home to the pyramids. State TV blamed Morsi's supporters for the arson and broadcast footage showing firefighters evacuating employees from the larger building of Giza's government offices.
As turmoil spread, the Interior Ministry authorized the use of deadly force against protesters targeting police and state institutions. Egypt's military-backed government also pledged to confront "terrorist actions and sabotage" allegedly carried out by Muslim Brotherhood members.
The Brotherhood, trying to regroup after the assault on its encampments and the arrest of many of its leaders, called for a mass rally Friday in a challenge to the government's declaration of a monthlong state of emergency and a dusk-to-dawn curfew.
Also Thursday, the U.N. Security Council urged both the Egyptian government and the Muslim Brotherhood to exercise "maximum restraint" and work toward national reconciliation.
In Cairo, weeping relatives filled the mosque-turned-morgue near the gutted pro-Morsi protest camp in Nasr City, spilled into the courtyard and the streets. Inside, the names of the dead were scribbled on white sheets covering the bodies, some of them charred, and a list with 265 names was plastered on the wall. Heat made the stench from the corpses almost unbearable as the ice brought in to chill the bodies melted and household fans offered little relief.
Many people complained that authorities were preventing them from obtaining permits to bury their dead, although the Muslim Brotherhood announced that several funerals had been held Thursday.
A woman cradled the head of a slain man in her lap, fanning it with a paper fan. Nearby, an anguished man shouted, "God take revenge on you el-Sissi!" a reference to the powerful military chief, Gen. Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi.
Slumped over the body of his brother, Ihab el-Sayyed said the 24-year-old was getting ready for his wedding next week. "Last time I heard his voice was an hour or two before I heard of his death," he said, choking back tears.
Elsewhere on Thursday, a mass funeral was held in Cairo for some of the 43 security troops authorities said were killed in Wednesday's clashes. Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim, who is in charge of the police, led the mourners. A police band played solemn music as fire engines bore the coffins draped in white, red and black Egyptian flags in a funeral procession.
Wednesday's deadly crackdown drew widespread condemnation from the Muslim world and the West.
President Barack Obama canceled joint U.S.-Egypt military exercises scheduled for next month, although he gave no indication that the U.S. planned to cut off its $1.3 billion in annual military aid to the country. The U.S. administration has avoided declaring Morsi's ouster a coup, which would force it to suspend the military aid.
"While we want to sustain our relationship with Egypt, our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual when civilians are being killed in the streets and rights are being rolled back," Obama said, speaking from his weeklong vacation in Massachusetts.
Egypt's interim government issued a late night statement saying the country is facing "terrorist actions targeting government and vital institutions" by "violent militant groups." The statement expressed "sadness" for the killings of Egyptians and pledged to work on restoring law and order.
The statement also warned that Obama's position "while it's not based on facts can empower the violent militant groups and encourage them in its anti-stability discourse."
The biennial Bright Star maneuvers, long a centerpiece of the deep ties between the U.S. and Egyptian militaries, have not been held since 2009, as Egypt grappled with the fallout from the revolution that ousted Mubarak. Morsi, a member of the Brotherhood, was elected president in 2012 during Egypt's first democratic elections.
Attackers also set fire to churches and police stations across the country for a second day Thursday.
In the country's second-largest city of Alexandria, Islamist protesters exchanged gunfire with an anti-Morsi rally, leaving scores injured, witnesses and security officials said. Attempts to storm police stations in the southern city of Assiut and northern Sinai city of el-Arish left at least six policemen dead and others injured.
Ishaq Ibrahim of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights said his group had documented at least 39 cases of violence against churches, monasteries, Coptic schools and shops in different parts of the country on Wednesday.
Fearful of more violence Friday, some main streets were closed and people in many neighborhoods set up cement blocks and metal barricades. Residents checked IDs in scenes reminiscent of the 2011 revolution when vigilante-style groups set up neighborhood watches to prevent looting and other attacks.
The turmoil is the latest chapter in a bitter standoff between Morsi's supporters and the interim leadership that took over the Arab world's most populous country following a July 3 coup. The military ouster came after millions of Egyptians took to the streets to demand Morsi step down, accusing him of giving the Brotherhood undue influence and failing to implement vital reforms or bolster the ailing economy.
Morsi has been held at an undisclosed location ever since. Other Brotherhood leaders, including several arrested Wednesday, have been charged with inciting violence or conspiring in the killing of protesters.
The Brotherhood has spent most of its 85 years as an outlawed group or enduring crackdowns by successive governments. The latest developments could prompt the authorities to once again declare it an illegal group and force it to go underground.
Police have identified the suspect in custody connected to the murder of a gas station owner.
Police say 28-year-old Justin Williams admitted to shooting Irshad Kahn over the weekend. Williams was captured on surveillance video, but police could not find him.
After the footage was released to the press police say they received over a dozen tips that led them to Williams. He was staying at a house in St. Louis city.
Williams is charged with first degree murder, armed criminal actions, and two other felonies. He is held on $1 million bond.
A recent study shows that people are more sympathetic to an abused animal than an abused person.
The study was released by LiveScience. The researchers presented subjects with news articles featuring an abused adult, infant, puppy, or adult dog. Puppies, adult dogs, and infants were all viewed as defenseless by participants.
Recent efforts to curb crime are working. That's according to St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson when he spoke with hundreds of people who gathered at the Demetrious Johnson Center for a town hall meeting Thursday night.
Mayor Francis Slay was also there along with several parents of murdered children. All seemed to agree that keeping the dialog going was critical to fighting violent crime in the city.
Chief Dotson says a total of 56 people have been murdered in St. Louis in 2013, 10 fewer than by this time last year. He credits a recent surge of ATF agents in the city with taking more than 200 criminals of the streets.
A south St. Louis man is in serious condition after he was shot while standing in his front door last night.
Police say that just before midnight the 32-year-old man heard a knock on the front door of his house in the 3900 block of Chippewa. After he opened the door, a suspect shot the man twice in the neck.
Police have not released any information on the suspect.
CAIRO (AP) - A senior Health Ministry official says clashes overnight between police and supporters of Egypt's ousted president have left at least seven people dead.
Khaled el-Khateib also says 261 people were injured in the violence that broke out late Monday and carried on into the early morning hours of Tuesday in four different locations in the capital, Cairo.
Thousands of supporters of Mohammed Morsi, who was overthrown by the military, were protesting to press their demands that Morsi be reinstated as president.
Egypt's military deposed Morsi on July 3 after days of mass street protests calling for him to step down.
The ousted president's supporters say he was ousted by a military coup that overturned democratic rule.
No jury will be needed to convict a man of shooting a police officer in the face.
Evan Lockhart admitted Monday morning, to shooting Maryland Heights officer Joe Eaganin the face. The admission came shortly before jury selection was set to start. The shooting over two and a half years ago.
Lockhart will spend 30 years in prison for the crime.
One man is in the hospital after being stabbed by a robber who was trying to take his food stamps.
The victim was approached by the suspect in North County late last night. Police say the robber told the man to give him his food stamps. When the victim resisted, the two started fighting. The robber stabbed the man three times and ran away.
Police are looking for a black male who is about 165lbs, 5’9″ tall and 25-30 years old. The victim is in stable condition.
The call came in about 1:30 Thursday afternoon of a shooting on Cherokee Street; the Cherokee Place Business Incubator where several businesses are located. The victims' names have not been released, but we do know two men and two women, believed in their 40's or 50's, were killed at the A-K Home Healthcare office.
Ann McCullough is Cherokee Street Business Association Liason, "we're very strong and vibrant community and will continue to move forward as a creative, artistic district. And we all look at for each other and I just think it is going to remind people that they need to be aware of their surroundings."
That weapon, a semi-automatic handgun, has been recovered.
A Granite City man faces charges for allegedly stabbing his estranged wife to death.
The Police report says that Marissa Stainback was walking with a male friend yesterday afternoon when Tyrone Stainback approached her and stabbed her. Marissa was rushed to the hospital, but the Madison County Coroner confirmed she died from several stab wounds.
Tyrone is being held on no bond and faces 1st degree murder charges.