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CAIRO, Egypt — It was just before dawn on July 8 when guards protecting a sit-in supporting ousted President Mohamed Morsi reported seeing military and police forces approaching from side streets.

The security forces fired tear gas and blanks into the air, above the sit-in where worshippers had gathered to perform prayers. What followed next, according to one witness, “was the chaos of nightmares.”

The subsequent killing of 51 Morsi supporters outside the Republican Guard headquarters in northeast Cairo in the early morning hours of July 8 marked the single bloodiest state-led massacre since Egypt’s 2011 uprising.

Egyptian military spokesman Col. Ahmed Ali says the army acted in self-defense after violent protesters attacked the facility on motorbikes.

But a GlobalPost investigation, based on eyewitness testimonies, visits to the scene, interviews with morgue and military officials, and an examination of video and photographic evidence, paints a different picture.

Instead, the scene that emerges is one of a pre-planned attack on largely unarmed civilians, including arbitrary arrests and the complicity of some health facilities. 

It aligns with the conclusions of international human rights groups also investigating the incident — that security forces used intentional lethal force against protesters, according to London-based Amnesty International. 

GlobalPost investigation: a massacre in Cairo

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