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Egypt Protests Leave 297 Killed: Human Rights Watch

CAIRO — At least 297 people have been killed since Egypt's anti-government uprising began two weeks ago, U.S.-based Human Rights Watch told The Associated Press on Monday.

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The count is based on visits to seven hospitals in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez that included interviews with doctors and morgue inspections, said the group's Cairo researcher, Heba Morayef.

Egypt's Health Ministry has not given a comprehensive death toll, though a ministry official said they are trying to compile one.

The revolt against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak that erupted Jan. 25 brought days of fierce clashes. Protesters have clashed with police who fired live rounds, tear gas and rubber bullets and fought pitched street battles for two days with gangs of pro-Mubarak supporters who attacked their main demonstration site in Cairo's central Tahrir Square.

The violence has spread to other parts of Egypt and the toll includes 65 deaths outside the capital Cairo.

Morayef said the count is preliminary and is expected to rise. She said a majority of deaths were caused by live fire and in most cases, doctors were reluctant to release names. She said she did not have a breakdown of how many of the dead were protesters.

The researcher said she counted 232 deaths in Cairo, including 217 who were killed through Jan. 30 and an additional 15 who were killed in clashes between government supporters and opponents in Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the protests, on Feb. 2 and 3.

In addition, 52 deaths were reported in Alexandria and 13 in the city of Suez east of Cairo, she said.

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