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Egyptian Health Ministry Raises Wednesday Death Toll to 421

Egypt's Health Ministry says the death toll from violence across the country Wednesday has risen to 421.

The ministry announced the new figure Thursday, as a tense calm remained in the country.

Authorities imposed a curfew overnight as part of a month-long state of emergency to restore order.

The clashes began when security forces broke up a pair of protest camps in Cairo, and later spread to other areas, including Alexandria and Suez.

Authorities had warned for days they would move against the protest camps, where demonstrators led by the Muslim Brotherhood rallied against Egypt's military and its ouster of president Mohamed Morsi.

A Muslim Brotherhood spokesman posted a dramatically higher death toll Thursday, saying more than 4,500 people had been killed.

Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim defended the actions of security forces, saying they used minimum force against the camps and only fired tear gas. He blamed the Brotherhood for creating what he called a state of mayhem across the country by shooting at police, attacking government buildings and burning churches.

Ibrahim says the interim government is heeding the call of the people to bring stability back to Egypt.

Pro-reform leader Mohamed ElBaradei resigned his post as interim vice president following Wednesday's violence. He said he is not prepared to be held responsible for even "a single drop of blood."

Egypt's railway authority has suspended train service in and out of Cairo to keep activists from regrouping elsewhere.