(Updates throughout, lowers death toll reported by Islamists)


The Muslim Brotherhood lowered the death toll it had reported from clashes early Saturday in the Egyptian capital between supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi and police, saying that 66 people were killed as opposed to more than 200.

In a press conference late Saturday, the Brotherhood's spokesman, Ahmed Aref, said the group was not ruling out the possibility of more fatalities, noting that 61 people were listed as clinically dead in area hospitals.

Aref said at the Rabia al-Adawiyya Mosque, where Morsi's supporters have set up a massive sit-in camp since the Islamist president's ouster on July 3, that 700 people were wounded by gunshot and birdshot and that 3,000 others were injured from tear-gas inhalation.

The Islamist protesters had earlier reported that more than 200 people had died and 4,500 others were injured in the fighting near Cairo's Rabia al-Adawiyya Square in the east Cairo district of Nasr City.

The Health Ministry has confirmed at least 38 deaths and 500 people wounded in the clashes, which began early Saturday and ended later that morning.

Aref reiterated the Islamists' earlier accusation that police opened fire on the demonstrators and shot them in the head and chest. He also said snipers had been positioned on rooftops in Nasr City.

The Interior Ministry, however, accused the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group Morsi belonged to prior to becoming president in June 2012, of firing birdshot at security forces and trying to block the 6th October Bridge, one of the city's main arteries.

The ministry said police only used tear gas against the demonstrators, who, it added, had clashed with residents of Nasr City.

Aref criticized Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim for blaming Morsi's supporters for the violence, and said "the coup leaders," referring to the Egyptian army, bore full responsibility for the massacre.

In a statement, the National Coalition for the Defense of Legitimacy, which comprises several Islamist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, called on the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to "stop the genocide of demonstrators in Egypt."

The coalition also urged the International Criminal Court to address the country's situation.

Morsi's Islamist supporters have held protests in east Cairo since his ouster in a July 3 coup, when the armed forces suspended the constitution that he enacted during his abbreviated term in office and named Adly Mansour, the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court, as interim head of state pending fresh elections.

The military acted following days of massive anti-government protests.

Critics accused Morsi and the Brotherhood of doing little to address poverty and Egypt's struggling economy, of failing to advance the goals of the 2011 revolution that forced out strongman Hosni Mubarak and of seeking to monopolize power EFE