Egypt's government said Saturday that at least 173 people have been killed and 1,330 wounded in nationwide clashes between Islamist protesters and the security forces over the past 24 hours.

Cabinet spokesman Sherif Shawqi said in a joint press conference with Health Ministry representative Mohammed Barakat that those deaths occurred between Friday and early Saturday.

Authorities say that more than 800 people have died since the violent dismantling Wednesday of two large protest camps that had been set up in Cairo by supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi.

The pro-Morsi Muslim Brotherhood, meanwhile, says thousands have been killed in violence triggered by the clearing of the camps, including 200 fatalities over the past 24 hours.

Most of Friday's deaths occurred in the provinces of Cairo, where 95 people were killed and 596 were wounded; Alexandria, with 25 dead and 171 wounded; and Suez, with 14 dead and 62 wounded.

The government says 57 police were killed and 563 wounded between Wednesday and Saturday. It is not clear if the figure of 800 includes the police fatalities.

Shawqi added that 27 police stations, 12 Christian churches, 6 local government offices and five provincial government headquarters were destroyed or burned during Friday's disturbances.

The day's mayhem also included attacks on courthouses and attempts to break into prisons.

"Yesterday, everyone was witness to the horrors committed by criminal elements, which could have been worse if the armed forces had not intervened to protect institutions and property," the Cabinet spokesman said.

Shawqi added that the government would not hesitate to protect the country "against the forces of terrorism and combat saboteurs with an iron fist."

A government security services spokesman, meanwhile, told Efe that police special forces on Saturday stormed the Al Fath mosque in Cairo's Ramses district, where Morsi supporters had been holed up.

After a firefight, the special forces entered the mosque and arrested the Islamists who had taken refuge inside, the spokesman said.

Army soldiers and police had been fired at by gunmen positioned inside the mosque's tower, the spokesman said, adding that government forces prevented the detainees from being lynched by a vigilante, anti-Morsi mob.

The country has been locked in a spiral of bloodshed since Wednesday's dismantling of the sit-in protests.

At least 578 people were killed and 4,200 were wounded in deadly clashes that day, according to Egyptian authorities, although Islamists say the death toll was much higher.

Morsi's 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