Hundreds of Egyptian soldiers in riot gear swept through Cairo's Tahrir Square early Monday and opened fire on protesters demanding an immediate end to military rule. The Health Ministry said at least three people were killed, bringing the death toll for four days of clashes to 14.
Violence has been raging in Cairo since Friday, when military forces guarding the Cabinet building near Tahrir Square heavily cracked down on a 3-week-old sit-in to demand Egypt's ruling generals immediately hand power to a civilian authority.
The raid early Monday may have been an attempt by the military to keep protesters away from key government buildings near the square, including parliament and the Interior Ministry, which is in charge of the hated police force.
Ahmed Saad, a field hospital doctor who witnessed the crackdown, said six people were killed by gunshots, giving a toll twice that of the Health Ministry's. He said troops stormed a mosque on the square, beating up protesters who spent the night inside.
"It was like a rain of bullets in the early morning," Saad said.