As was reported over the weekend, it was only a matter of time before the Egyptian police began its violent crackdown on protesting pro-Mursi supporters across Egypt. But after the specified ETA came and went on Monday morning, most thought that this was yet another false alarm. It appears it was only delayed until Wednesday. Overnight, depending on the source one reads, Egyptian security forces killed anywhere between 43 and hundreds people when they cleared a camp of Cairo protesters who were demanding the reinstatement of the deposed Mohamed Mursi. There was no official confirmation of the deaths at Rabaa al-Adawiya, in northeast Cairo, where thousands of Mursi supporters awoke to police helicopters circling over the site. A second camp near Cairo University was swiftly cleared in the early morning. So is this the final step that will ultimately catalyze what has been an almost preordained civil war, with or without but most likely with America's blessing (after all the deficit spending surge so needed for the untaper won't happen on its own)? The answer should be appearing promptly.
More from Al Arabiya:
At least 43 people were reportedly killed on Wednesday as Egyptian police moved in on protesters camping out in support of deposed President Mohammed Mursi.
Two members of Egypt security forces killed by gunfire while breaking up the protests, the state news agency reported.
The state news agency said security forces had started implementing a phased plan to disperse the protesters, which is almost certain to deepen political turmoil in Egypt. The operation began shortly after dawn when security forces surrounded the sprawling Rabaa al-Adawiya camp in east Cairo and a similar one at Nahda square, in the centre of the capital.
Al Arabiya’s correspondent in Cairo said clashes between security forces and protesters in Rabaa al-Adawiya had erupted early on in the swoop.
An AFP correspondent counted 43 bodies at a makeshift morgue at Rabaa al-Adawiya, adding that many appeared to have died from gunshot wounds. There were no women or children among the dead, the correspondent said.
Security forces fired tear gas into the sit-in in, and live images of Rabaa al-Adawiya showed smoke billowing from the square and military helicopters flying overhead.
Canisters of tear gas rained down on tents set up by the protesters at one end of the Rabaa al-Adawiya camp as police vehicles, one blaring a siren, advanced on the protesters.
"It is the beginning of the operation to disperse the protesters," a security official told AFP.
The Al Arabiya correspondent reported that security forces were opening up Nasr Street, a road which leads out of Rabaa al-Adawiya, for those wanting to leave camp.
The correspondent added that some protesters had begun burning tires to block the security forces efforts.
An Associated Press television video journalist at the scene of the larger of the two camps said he could hear the screams of women as a cloud of white smoke hung over the site in the eastern Cairo suburb of Nasr City.
He said an army bulldozer was removing mounds of sand bags and brick walls built by the protesters as a defense line in the Nasr City camp. Army troops, however, were not taking part in the operation.
Meanwhile, Egypt stopped all train services in and out of Cairo to prevent Mursi supporters from reassembling after being dispersed from protest camps in the capital.
"Train services in and out of Cairo in all directions have been stopped until further notice... for security reasons and to prevent people from mobilizing," the railway authority said.
Yet what will likely incite the international community more than the deaths of hundreds of "locals" is that at least one foreign journalist has been killed.
Of course, were this to happen in the US, the only question would be how are stocks reacting. They were down 1.63%.
More in the Al Jazeera video below: