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Egypt: Death toll keeps rising as violence rages on

From Ian Lee, Ben Brumfield and Sarah Sirgany, CNN
October 8, 2013 -- Updated 0926 GMT (1726 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Violence has pockmarked Egypt since Sunday's clashes that killed dozens
  • The death toll from those clashes now stands at 55, with more than 250 injured
  • Attacks on the military killed at least six soldiers on Monday and Tuesday
  • Supporters of ousted President Morsy keep protesting despite pressure from the military

Cairo (CNN) -- Convulsions of violence followed the fierce clashes that killed dozens of people Sunday in Egypt, when Muslim Brotherhood supporters clashed with their opponents and security forces.

By Tuesday, the death toll from Sunday's violence climbed to 55. That number could continue to rise, as some of the 250 injured could succumb to their wounds.

On top of that, six Egyptian soldiers have died in attacks since Sunday.

In the city of Port Said, a group of attackers shot and killed an Egyptian soldier on Tuesday, according to state-run media.

And on Monday, Islamist militants in the Sinai killed five Egyptian soldiers in the town of Ismailia, state media said. In the village of Al-Tor, they set off a car bomb that killed two people and wounded 48, state media reported.

Jihadists have stepped up their assaults since Egypt's military forcibly removed former President Mohamed Morsy from office in July.

Elsewhere in the country, his supporters continue vent their anger in the streets despite the muscle government security forces have applied to suppress and disperse them.

Sunday's violence

Early Sunday, Muslim Brotherhood protesters marched in different neighborhoods in Cairo and across the country.

In Egypt's capital, people swam across the Nile River to escape arrest as military armored personnel carriers supported police clearing the streets of protesters.

Tear gas filled the air, and security forces with batons beat some of the protesters they detained.

It was another powerful sign that Egypt's military-backed interim government will go to almost any measure to shut down the Muslim Brotherhood's protests.

But in nearby Tahrir Square, the scene was drastically different; throngs of people celebrated Egypt Armed Forces Day at a festive event that included dancing and fireworks.

As thousands of Muslim Brotherhood protesters marched along the Nile from Old Cairo toward Tahrir, security forces blocked their path and quickly dispersed the crowd.

Quelling the Muslim Brotherhood

In a statement, the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party decried what it called "crimes of violence and murder committed today against peaceful protesters." The group also said it holds the leaders of the coup that ousted Morsy responsible.

Egypt's Interior Ministry said it had arrested 423 "rioters" on Sunday.

In September, an Egyptian court banned all activities of the Muslim Brotherhood and froze its finances, drawing complaints from the international community. At the United Nations General Assembly, Egypt's interim foreign minister sought to quell these concerns.

Nabil Fahmy said Egypt will hold elections in the spring. He also argued that the political process is open to all "as long as they are committed to the renunciation of violence and terrorism and acts of incitement to them."

On Sunday, protesters from the Muslim Brotherhood said they would accept nothing less than the reinstatement of the government led by Morsy. But supporters of the military in Tahrir Square remained adamant that that shouldn't happen.

Neither side appeared willing to compromise.

Violent clashes after relative calm

New Egyptian government to be in place by spring, foreign minister says

CNN's Reza Sayah contributed to this report.

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