Egypt's Health Ministry said Thursday that at least 525 people were killed and 3,717 were wounded in nationwide clashes following the violent dismantling of protest camps set up here by Islamist supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi.

The ministry's spokesman, Mohammed Fathallah, told state television that most of the bloodshed in Cairo occurred at the camp located in the Rabia al-Adawiyya Square, where 202 people died.

He did not provide specific casualty figures for other parts of the country, though he said the higher death toll - up by more than 100 from the previous bulletin - was due almost exclusively to more fatalities recorded in the capital.

While the provisional government imposed a month-long state of emergency and a dusk-to-dawn curfew Wednesday in 12 of Egypt's 27 provinces, acting Vice President Mohammed ElBaradei resigned.

"It has become difficult for me to continue bearing responsibility for decisions that I do not agree with and whose consequences I fear," the Nobel Peace Prize laureate wrote in a letter to interim head of state Adly Mansour.

The Muslim Brotherhood responded to the security forces' crackdown on the camps by calling on its supporters to take to the streets across Egypt, leading to clashes pitting Islamists against the security forces and opponents of the deposed head of state.

On Wednesday, the European Union's top diplomat, Catherine Ashton, condemned the violence and called for a reopening of the political process in the North African nation so that democratic structures can be restored.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the state of emergency needed to be lifted "as soon as possible" and described Wednesday's violence as "deplorable."

Egyptian interim Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi, for his part, on Thursday condemned "criminal acts" against Christian churches, a day after the Interior Ministry said seven churches were set on fire or vandalized by Muslim Brotherhood supporters in North Sinai and in three provinces located south of Cairo.

Morsi's Islamist supporters have held protests in Cairo since his ouster by the armed forces in a July 3 coup, which followed 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