Gaza's Islamist Hamas rulers on Monday condemned the "massacre" of dozens of people demonstrating against last week's military coup which ousted former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, calling for an end to the bloodshed.
"Hamas condemns the massacre of dozens of peaceful Egypt civilians today at dawn, expresses its profound pain and sadness over the victims, and calls for an end to the bloodshed among the Egyptian people," it said in a statement.
According to the Muslim Brotherhood, the party from which Morsi hails, at least 35 people were killed when soldiers and police opened fire on a group of its activists who were holding dawn prayers at their protest camp outside the headquarters of the elite Republican Guard in Cairo.
But a senior medical official put the death toll at 42 and said 322 people were wounded in an attack whose circumstances were disputed, with witnesses saying the army had only fired tear gas and warning shots, claiming the gunfire was carried out by "thugs" dressed as civilians.
In a statement, the army said "armed terrorists" tried to storm the base, leaving one security officer dead and six critically wounded.
Last week, senior Hamas official Yussef Rizq had criticised the ouster of Morsi in a posting on his Facebook page.
"What happened in Egypt, his eviction and removal of power, is not part of a genuine democratic process, because they used military force and not the voice of the people through elections," Rizq wrote on Thursday.
© AFP 2014