Nightly News   |  August 16, 2013

Cairo clashes turn deadly in Egypt

Gunshots rang out and demonstrators set bonfires in Ramses Square. Egypt said it is running its own war on terrorism as the military fights the Muslim Brotherhood. NBC’s Richard Engel reports.

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>>> world can only stand by and watch in horror today as one of the most vital countries in the middle east spiralled deeper into chaos and maybe even civil war . in egypt , two days after hundreds of its supporters died in the face of a government crackdown, the muslim brotherhood made good on its promise to take to the streets again in what it billed as a day of rage. the outcome was the one many feared. tonight an estimated 100 people are dead in cairo and other egyptian cities , and, once again, our richard engel was there to witness it all. he joins us now from cairo . richard, good evening.

>> reporter: good evening, lester. there are now open battles between supporters of egypt 's democratically elected president and the military who removed him. and today the two sides clashed violently here in cairo . in cairo 's aramsey square, just after three hours, it turned. gunshots rang out, demonstrators set bonfires, prayed for strength, broke stones for ammunition, slid barricades into place, and ramsey square, named for egypt 's greatest pharaoh, became a front line. the protesters are taking cover under this elevated highway and seem to be taking life fire from a police station just up the road. wounded were hoisted on to motorcycles and ferried to clinics. some already looked dead. egypt says it's fighting its own war on terrorism and is running 24-hour coverage, demonizing the muslim brotherhood . north of cairo , the army shot to kill. but in alexandria, thousands supported the pro0 testers. in ramsey square, we followed the wounded to a nearby field hospital . a mosque where some protest rz arrived barely alive. after chest compressions, we watched this man die. medics closed another protester's eyes, wrote his name on his forehead, and made room for the next victim. dr. mohammed moonsef had been walking by the mosque when he came in to help.

>> i'm not with the muslim brotherhood . just trying to save lives.

>> reporter: as the doctor made his rounds, his son -- this man screamed that his son was shot in the neck.

>> i think he's dead.

>> reporter: moonsef called for an air pump but just after working for a minute, his initial assessment was correct.

>> reporter: moonsef, himself a father, told the man his teenage son is now in heaven. from windows above the mosque, women looked down at what is happening in this city, some stoic, others horrified. the situation now is so tense, lester, that, as we were on our way back to the bureau tonight, we were stopped at several different checkpoints where people were leaning into our car to see which side we were on, the muslim brotherhood or the military. and this could be repeating itself again and again. the muslim brotherhood is now calling for a week of daily protests.