Egyptian police fire tear gas at pro-Morsi protest camp in Cairo

CAIRO - Egyptian security forces have started clearing out Cairo protest camps which have been demanding the reinstatement of deposed president Mohamed Mursi, Reuters witnesses and the state news agency said.

At the biggest camp in northeast Cairo, security forces fired tear gas as police helicopters circled above and army vehicles were stationed nearby.

The state news agency said security forces had started implementing a phased plan to disperse the protesters, which is almost certain to deepen political turmoil in Egypt.

Eyewitness Ahshur Abid said 15 people were killed as the clearing operation started. He said he saw their bodies at a field hospital at one of the camps.

There was no immediate official conformation of the deaths.