CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian officials say security forces fired tear gas at a prison truck Sunday in an attempt to free a badly beaten police officer from rioting detainees, killing at least 36 suspects.
According to the officials, those killed died from suffocating on the gas.
The officials say the detainees were rounded up during streets clashes between Islamist supporters of the country’s ousted president and police and were part of a prison truck convoy of some 600 people heading to a prison in northern Egypt.
However, the officials’ version of events contradicted reports about the incident carried by state media.
Egyptian state television reports the deaths took place after security forces clashed with militants near the prison and detainees came under fire while trying to escape.
State media also says all those killed and the gunmen belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood.
The deaths of the prisoners come as Egypt’s army leader vows that the military would not tolerate further violence after four days of nationwide clashes left nearly 900 people dead.