Bomb Kills 12 At Egypt Police Compound

A bomb blast tore through a police compound in Egypt’s Nile Delta on Tuesday, killing 12 people and wounding 134 in one of the deadliest attacks since the army deposed Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in July.

The army-backed government vowed to fight “black terrorism”, saying the blast an hour after midnight in the city of Mansoura north of Cairo would not derail a political transition plan whose next step is a January referendum on a new constitution.

With eight policemen among the dead, the blast pointed to the risk of militancy moving to the densely populated Nile Valley from the Sinai Peninsula, where attacks have killed some 200 members of the security forces since Mursi’s downfall.

“We face an enemy that has no religion or nation,” Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim, the survivor of an assassination attempt in September, said while inspecting the scene of the blast, an Interior Ministry statement said.

The military-backed presidency declared it a terrorist attack. “These type of operations only increase the state’s determination to uproot terrorism across the country,” it said in a statement published by state-run media.

Egypt has suffered the deadliest internal strife in its modern history since the army deposed Mursi, the nation’s first freely elected leader, on July 3 after big protests against him.

The security forces killed hundreds of his supporters as part of a campaign to repress his Muslim Brotherhood, while lethal attacks on the security forces have become commonplace.

Tuesday’s bombing prompted a cabinet statement declaring Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood a “terrorist organization”, though the bulletin carried by the state news agency did not explicitly accuse the group of staging the attack.

The Brotherhood condemned the blast, saying it was “an attack on the unity of the Egyptian people”. Ibrahim said the police were investigating exactly how it had been staged.

State television showed the security building with shattered windows and one wall partially collapsed, and a bulldozer removing rubble in the street in front of it. A security source said the blast may have been caused by a car bomb.

Sinai has been the site of most major attacks since Mursi’s ouster. A car bomb killed 10 soldiers in November and militants killed 24 policemen in an ambush in August.

Many of the Sinai attacks have been claimed by a group called Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, “Supporters of Jerusalem”. It also said it was behind the failed assassination attempt on Ibrahim in Cairo in September. Small-scale attacks occur almost daily.

There have also been lethal attacks on security forces in the Nile Delta, though nothing on the scale of Tuesday’s blast.

Witnesses in Mansoura said many cars inside and outside the security compound were burned out and the entire city was in chaos as people hurried to hospitals to check on victims.

Egypt’s Nile News TV cut into its late-night programming to urge people to go to hospitals to donate blood to the victims.

The government has accused the Brotherhood of turning to violence – charges the group denies. Last week, the public prosecutor ordered Mursi and other Brotherhood leaders to stand trial in two separate terrorist cases.

Clashes Break Out In Cairo Between Pro And Anti-Mursi Factions

Clashes broke out in central Cairo on Tuesday when supporters of ousted President Mohamed Mursi came under attack as they marched to the Interior Ministry, a Reuters reporter said.

Supporters of the new military-installed government hurled stones at the marchers and threw bottles at them from balconies. Police then fired tear gas at the pro-Mursi protesters.

A few thousand pro-Mursi protesters were taking part in the march when the trouble erupted. Local residents taunted them, calling them terrorists and saying they were not welcome. They then began throwing stones at them.

The Mursi supporters responded by also hurling rocks.

Women and children marchers fled the scene in panic. Two men wielding machetes were seen chasing marchers.

The protesters are calling for the reinstatement of Mursi, who was overthrown by the military on July 3 and is now being held at undisclosed location.

EU Envoy Allowed To Meet Egypt’s Mursi, Says He Is In Good Health

Egypt’s rulers allowed an EU envoy to meet deposed President Mohamed Mursi, the first time an outsider was given access to him since the army overthrew him and jailed him a month ago, and she said she found him in good health.

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton revealed little about what she called a “friendly, open and very frank” two-hour conversation with Mursi, after she was flown to an undisclosed location to visit him.

“I’ve tried to make sure that his family know he is well,” said Ashton, who has emerged as one of the only figures accepted by both sides as a potential mediator in a conflict that has plunged the most populous Arab state into violent confrontation.

Ashton said Mursi had access to television and was informed about the situation in the country. Nearly 300 people have been killed in violence since Mursi was removed on July 3, including 80 of his supporters gunned down at dawn on Saturday.

Media have speculated about why the military-backed rulers would have allowed her to meet the ousted leader who had been kept incommunicado for a month.

She denied that she carried an offer to Mursi, who faces charges including murder, of “safe exit” if he were to renounce his claim to the presidency.

Many people have suggested such an arrangement could be part of a deal that would allow Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood to leave the streets and join an army-backed “road map” to civilian rule, but would require Mursi to abandon his historic mandate as Egypt’s first freely-elected leader.

Ashton said she would not attempt to characterize Mursi’s positions, which no one has heard since he was overthrown.

“I also told him in my two hour conversation that I was not going to represent his views because in the circumstances he cannot correct me if I do it wrongly,” she said.

CONDITION OF VISIT

Meeting Mursi was a condition of Ashton’s offer to visit Egypt, where she also met with the general who removed him and other top leaders on her second trip in 12 days.

“I said I wouldn’t come unless I could see him (Mursi),” said Ashton, who has emerged this year as the main international envoy in Egypt where the traditional Western ally, the United States, is regarded with extreme suspicion by both sides.

She was flown in a military helicopter to the meeting and said she did not know where she was.

“I saw where he was. I don’t know where he is but I saw the facilities he has,” said Ashton.

Egypt’s authorities say Mursi is being investigated for charges including murder, stemming from a 2011 jailbreak when he escaped detention during protests against former autocrat Hosni Mubarak. His Muslim Brotherhood says the charges are absurd and trumped up to justify his detention.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called for Mursi to be released. Washington and other Western capitals have made similar calls.

France calls for the rejection of violence and for the release of political prisoners including former president Mursi,” Fabius said.

Ashton spent Monday shuttling between Egypt’s rulers and the Brotherhood to try to pull the country back from more bloodshed.

Foreign countries are urging the military-backed rulers to reach compromise with Mursi’s Brotherhood to avert further bloodshed, calls that gained urgency after Saturday’s killings.

The government has ordered the Brotherhood to abandon a vigil it has maintained with thousands of supporters camping out to demand Mursi’s return. The Brotherhood says it will not leave the streets unless Mursi is restored.

Asked if she had urged authorities not to clear the vigil, Ashton said she had called on all sides to avert violence.

“What we said to everyone is you need to find a calm resolution to the situation on the ground. We’ve been talking to everyone about the squares and what’s happening there. We’ve made it clear that there is no place for violence in this.”

The violence has raised global anxiety that the army may try to crush the Brotherhood, a movement which emerged from decades in the shadows to win power in elections after Egypt’s 2011 Arab Spring uprising against Hosni Mubarak.

Raising the prospect of more bloodshed, the Brotherhood has said it would hold marches again on Tuesday.

The White House, treading a fine line with a pivotal Arab ally that it funds with $1.3 billion a year in military aid, said on Monday it “strongly condemns” Saturday’s bloodshed, and urged respect for the right to peaceful protest.

“Violence not only further sets back the process of reconciliation and democratization in Egypt, but it will negatively impact regional stability,” spokesman Josh Earnest said.

Ashton met General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the head of the army and the man who overthrew Egypt’s first freely-elected president. She also held talks with members of the interim government installed by the army, and with representatives of the Freedom and Justice Party, the Brotherhood’s political wing.

One Killed In Attack On Pro-Mursi Protest In Cairo: State News Website

One man was killed and 15 people were injured in an attack against a protest by hundreds of supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi near Cairo University early Tuesday morning, a state-run news website said.

Al-Ahram Online said police fired tear gas to quell the violence and several cars in the area were destroyed or set on fire.

Police sources said hundreds of pro-Mursi supporters clashed with local residents, street vendors and others near Cairo University’s main campus in Giza province, south of Cairo. They said gunshots were fired and stones were thrown during the incident.

One person was killed and around 20 were injured on Monday in clashes between Mursi supporters and opponents in central Cairo. Around 100 have been killed since the army overthrew Mursi, elected last year, on July 3 after mass protests.

The Muslim Brotherhood said on the Facebook page of its Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), which Mursi headed before he was elected president in June 2012, that five were killed in Tuesday’s clashes.

“Leaders of the military coup continue to terrorize the peaceful protesters in Egypt,” the FJP said in a statement in English.

The Brotherhood accuses the army of orchestrating a coup that has exposed deep political divisions in the Arab world’s most populous and influential nation.

FJP said the ministers of defense and interior, whom it called “the leaders of the coup,” would be held responsible for any future attempts to evacuate the Brotherhood protest areas.

Mursi’s supporters are maintaining a round-the-clock vigil, now in its third week, in a Cairo suburb. They say they will continue until Mursi, held by the army in an unknown location since his ouster, is reinstated.

Some residents close to the Brotherhood’s main protest area in Nasr City have filed a complaint with the public prosecutor asking for the removal of the protesters, who they say are disturbing their lives.

An informed security source said the case is expected to be taken to a court and ruled upon soon “to give the army a legal basis to end the protests.”

Egypt Starts Amending Constitution Despite Political Divisions

A panel of legal experts started work on Sunday to revise Egypt’s Islamist-tinged constitution, a vital first step on the road to fresh elections ordered by the army following its removal of Mohamed Mursi as president.

Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood, which has accused the army of orchestrating a military coup and denounced plans to revise the constitution, staged fresh rallies on Sunday to maintain pressure on the new, interim government.

Setting a highly ambitious timeframe, the military wants new elections in around six months and has tasked a panel of 10 legal experts to present proposed changes to the constitution within 30 days for review before a broader-based body.

The original constitution was approved by a referendum last year, but critics said the text failed to protect human rights, minorities and social justice.

Ali Awad Saleh, a judge and the constitutional affairs adviser for the newly installed president, chaired Sunday’s panel, saying it would spend the next week receiving ideas from “citizens, political parties, and all sides”.

Khaled Dawoud, a spokesman for the National Salvation Front, Egypt’s main secular political alliance, called the start of the committee’s work “a very positive development”.

The Muslim Brotherhood has shown no sign it is ready to engage with the new administration or the army, sticking firmly to its demand for the full restoration of Mursi, who has been held in an undisclosed location since his downfall on July 3.

Army and judiciary sources denied a report in state-run Al-Ahram newspaper’s early Monday edition that the public prosecutor had ordered the arrest of Mursi for 15 days pending an investigation into charges of spying and inciting violence.

A few thousand women, children and men marched from the site of a round-the-clock, pro-Mursi vigil in a Cairo suburb on Sunday, moving to within sight of the defense ministry, ringed by barbed wire and protected by well-armed soldiers.

“Why, Sisi why, why did you kill our sisters?” the crowd chanted, referring to General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the defense minister who played a central role in forcing Mursi from office following mammoth street protests against the Islamist ruler.

More than 100 people have died in violent clashes this month, including three women taking part in a pro-Mursi rally in the Nile Delta town of Mansoura on Friday.

CONSTITUTIONAL DOUBTS

Trying to burnish their democratic credentials, the Egyptian military has said the new constitution should be put to a referendum before planned parliamentary elections.

However, some analysts have expressed doubts about rushing to revise the text given the lack of political consensus that has clouded Egypt’s faltering transition to democracy in the wake of the 2011 removal of veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

“The problem is not amending or drafting the constitution, the problem is deciding the direction the country is headed,” said Zaid Al-Ali of International IDEA, a Stockholm-based intergovernmental organization.

“Unless political agreement is reached between all of the major political actors in the country, we are going to head from one crisis to another,” he said.

Despite the continued domestic tensions, the new government is trying to show the world that business is returning to normal in Cairo. On Sunday, the cabinet held its first meeting since being sworn into office last week.

“The people need to be informed candidly about the size of Egypt’s problems, which require quick and decisive action,” said a statement issued at the end of the gathering.

Egypt’s finances are floundering: the budget deficit has widened to almost half of all state spending and foreign reserves totaled just $14.9 billion in June – representing less than three months of imports that the International Monetary Fund considers to be a minimum safe cushion.

Some of Egypt’s Arab allies welcome Mursi’s demise and have rushed to prop up the nation’s coffers, however.

Egypt’s central bank said on Sunday it had received $2 billion in funds from Saudi Arabia, the latest installment of a $12 billion aid package pledged by Gulf Arab states.

The Egyptian stock exchange rose to a seven-week high on Sunday, encouraged by a lack of violence at weekend “anti-coup” protests in Cairo, hoping it indicated tensions are calming.

However, violence continued in the lawless Sinai peninsula, where three members of Egypt’s security forces were killed on Sunday by armed men – the latest in a string of attacks blamed on Islamist militants opposed to the army.

Mursi was Egypt’s first freely elected leader, but during his one year in office he drew criticism for failing to revive the ailing economy, restore security or build institutions. The Muslim Brotherhood say they were repeatedly thwarted by remnants of Mubarak’s old government and forces hostile to them.

Three Killed In Attack On Bus In Egypt’s Sinai

At least three people were killed and 17 wounded when suspected militants fired rocket-propelled grenades at a bus carrying workers in Egypt’s North Sinai province early on Monday, security and medical sources said.

Witnesses said the attackers shouted “Allahu akbar!” (God is greatest) after hitting the vehicle in the city of El Arish, at the center of a sharp rise in Islamist militant attacks since Egypt’s President Mohamed Mursi was ousted by the military on July 3.

Egypt’s army said a “terrorist group” had meant to hit a police vehicle but missed and hit the bus instead. The military statement on its spokesman’s Facebook page said the attack took place on the road to El Arish.

Hardline Islamist groups based in North Sinai, a lawless region bordering Israel and the Gaza Strip, have intensified attacks on police and soldiers over the past two years, exploiting a security vacuum following the 2011 uprising that ousted autocratic President Hosni Mubarak.

The violence has spiked again since Mursi’s overthrow, and militants have attacked security checkpoints and other targets on an almost daily basis, killing at least 13 people and wounding dozens.

Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood suggested the increase in violence could have been be engineered by the army itself.

“We do not rule out that the violence on the ground in beloved Sinai are contrived events,” said Brotherhood spokesman Ahmed Aref in a statement posted online.

“Incidents of violence against civilians and the police and the army in Sinai are the work of the intelligence service intended to distort … revolutionary peaceful protests by our people in Sinai against the military coup,” senior Brotherhood leader Essam El-Erian said in a statement posted on his Facebook page.

No one was immediately available from the army to respond to the accusation.

The workers on the bus attacked on Monday were employed at a cement factory, said security sources.

Egypt’s Islamists Take To Streets Of Cairo, But Protests Peaceful

Tens of thousands of Egyptians marched on Cairo’s streets in the early hours of Saturday to demand ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi be reinstated, but there were none of the deadly clashes that swept Egypt a week ago.

Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood called on Friday for “a day of marching on”, and 10 days after the military overthrew Egypt’s first freely elected president, large crowds descended on the capital waving flags and chanting slogans.

A week earlier similar scenes of protest turned violent when pro- and anti-Mursi demonstrators clashed in cities and towns across the country, killing 35 people and widening the rift between Egyptians on different sides of the political divide.

Three days after that, Egypt was left reeling again when soldiers opened fire on a group of pro-Mursi demonstrators outside the Republican Guard compound in Cairo where he is being held, killing 53. Four soldiers also died.

The powerful military blamed the confrontation on “terrorists”. Mursi’s supporters call it a massacre and say those who died were praying peacefully when troops opened fire.

As midnight passed in Cairo, large crowds of Brotherhood supporters were still out. Near the Ministry of Defence, hundreds of demonstrators standing behind barbed wire shouted at soldiers standing a few dozen meters away.

“I am here to say ‘no’ to the military coup and ‘yes’ to Mursi, who I see as my legitimate president, although I am not in the Brotherhood and nor did I vote for him,” said Ahmed Adel, a 22-year-old student, in downtown Cairo.

The army denies Mursi’s overthrow was a coup, saying it ousted him to enforce the will of the people after millions took to the streets at the end of June to demand his resignation.

The Brotherhood contends it is the victim of a military crackdown, evoking memories of its suppression under autocrat Hosni Mubarak, toppled in an uprising in 2011.

But many of its opponents blame Islamists for the violence, and some have little sympathy for the demonstrators who died, underlining how deep the fissures in Egyptian society are.

DEFIANCE AT VIGIL

At a Cairo mosque where Mursi supporters have held a mass vigil for more than two weeks, crowds swelled as people were bused in from the provinces, where the Brotherhood has strongholds.

Amer Ali, a member of parliament who spent 13 years as a political prisoner under Mubarak, made the five-hour car journey from Assiut in the Nile valley with his wife and two children.

“We’re here and we’re not leaving,” he said. “We came with our kids to support legitimacy, democracy, and … the first freely elected president in the Arab world.”

People squirted water from bottles to cool each other down. Dozens rested in the shade of tents, dozing or reading the Koran, conserving energy during the Ramadan fasting month when Muslims refrain from food and water during daylight.

Passions sometimes ran high.

“They killed our martyrs while they were praying!” screamed Soraya Naguib Ahmed, tears down her face visible through the slit of her full-face veil, referring to the clash on Monday.

Mursi remains in detention at the compound outside which the shooting took place, and judicial sources said he was likely to be charged soon, possibly for escaping prison during the 2011 uprising when authorities arrested many Brotherhood leaders. Mursi could also be charged for corruption or links to violence.

Asked whether Washington agreed with the German Foreign Ministry’s call for Mursi to be released, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said: “We do agree.”

She declined to say if the United States had officially conveyed its wish to Egyptian officials and the military.

Egypt’s foreign ministry said in a statement it was committed to a political “road map” drafted by the army which sets out a timetable for fresh parliamentary and presidential elections, possibly within months.

In reaction to international calls for Mursi’s release, it added that Egypt’s interim authorities would not revert to any “exceptional or illegal measure.”

SINAI CONCERNS

The unrest has raised fears over security in the lawless Sinai peninsula bordering Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip.

Militant groups in North Sinai have promised more attacks and urged Islamists to take up arms in the region, which is near the Suez Canal, a vital waterway linking Asia and Europe.

The state-controlled Al Gomhuria newspaper ran a front page headline: “Sinai’s Purification Operation in Days”, referring to expectations the army would launch an offensive against militants in the region.

There have been almost daily attacks and skirmishes between radical Islamists and police and soldiers in Sinai since Mursi’s ouster, some of them deadly.

Overnight on Friday, gunmen fired on a security checkpoint near the Suez Canal, but security personnel repelled the attack.

Mohab Mamish, Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, told Reuters the shooting had no impact on the flow of ships.

“The Canal is very well secured and the attack was away from it and any of its administrative buildings,” Mamish said.

The Suez is vital to Egypt’s economy, decimated by two and a half years of turmoil since Mubarak was toppled.

Foreign reserves and wheat stocks are running low, although financial aid of $12 billion from three wealthy Gulf states is likely to ease the crisis in the short term.

In the longer term, the transition from the military-backed interim authorities to an elected parliament and president will be crucial to Egypt’s stability.

Interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi said on Friday he had named center-left politician and lawyer Ziad Bahaa el-Din as his deputy, and he expected to swear in a cabinet next week.

EGYPT UPRISING: Public Opinion Can’t Be Unconstitutional In Democracy

A lecturer of International Law at the University of Lagos, Edefe Ojomo, while discussing African Union’s (AU) rationale for suspending Egypt following the removal of President Morsi, argued the that consent of many Egyptians to the military intervention should not be regarded as unconstitutional.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, she said that asides from military coups, a revolution as seen in Egypt could also be unconstitutional, by AU standards.

She however explained that if the “constitution gets its backing from the people, then obviously public opinion and public will can’t be unconstitutional.”

She attributed the success of 20 million signatories to the petition against the Morsi led administration to dissatisfaction by the people including those who had initially voted the ousted President into power.

She said the democracy, as interpreted by Egyptians, means the ‘people’s voice”

The uprising which led to the Egyptian Army ousting President Mohammed Morsi from power barely a year after being elected into power, was caused by people’s dissatisfaction.

Ojomo noted that the crisis, which involves international politics,  domestic politics and domestic economy would not spiral into a civil war.

“People don’t think it will spiral into a civil war because the Egyptian army is strong enough to maintain ‘some calm and some peace’.”

She disagreed with claims that external influences were involved in the uprising adding that “it is insulting to call a popular uprising a sort of manipulation” by outsiders.

She regarded it as a political manner of interpreting such problems.

At Least 15 Dead After Shooting In Cairo

At least 15 people were killed on Monday in Cairo, medical sources said, when the Muslim Brotherhood said shots were fired at supporters of deposed President Mohamed Mursi near the military building where he is being held.

The Egyptian military said “a terrorist group” had tried to storm the building. One army officer had been killed and 40 wounded, the military said.

Murad Ali of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party said 34 Mursi supporters had been killed. He said shooting broke out in the early morning while Islamists staged a sit-in outside the Republican Guard barracks.

Al Jazeera’s Egypt news channel broadcast footage of what appeared to be five men killed in the violence, and medics applying cardiopulmonary resuscitation to an unconscious man at a makeshift clinic at a nearby pro-Mursi sit-in.

Ambulances were shown driving to and from the clinic.

The military overthrew Mursi last Wednesday after mass nationwide demonstrations led by youth activists demanding his resignation. The Brotherhood denounced the intervention as a coup and vowed peaceful resistance against the “usurper authorities”.

The ultra-conservative Islamist Nour party, which backed the military action, said it had withdrawn from negotiations to form a new interim government in protest at what it called the “massacre of the Republican Guard”.

“We’ve announced our withdrawal from all tracks of negotiations as a first response,” Nader Bakar, spokesman for Egypt’s second biggest Islamist party, said on Facebook.

Egypt Counts Dead After Islamist Protest Violence

Egypt counted its dead on Saturday after Islamists enraged by the overthrow of President Mohamed Mursi took to the streets in an explosion of violence against what they denounced as a military coup.

At least 30 people died and more than 1,000 were wounded after Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement called “Friday of Rejection” protests across the country and tried to march on the military compound where the ousted president is held.

The most deadly clashes were in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, where 14 people died and 200 were wounded. In central Cairo, pro- and anti-Mursi protesters fought pitched battles late into the night with stones, knives, petrol bombs and clubs as armored personnel carriers rumbled among them.

It took hours to restore calm. The Nile River bridges around the landmark Egyptian Museum where the street fights raged were still covered with the debris of rocks and shattered glass on Saturday morning. Both pro- and anti-Mursi activists remained encamped in different squares in the capital.

The Health Ministry said 30 people were killed throughout Egypt on Friday, and 1,138 injured, state media reported.

State-owned newspapers said the army-backed authorities that took power on Wednesday and suspended the constitution, would announce the appointment of a prime minister on Saturday to run the country during a transition period.

Former U.N. nuclear agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei, 71, a leading liberal politician, was seen as the most likely candidate to lead an administration focused on reviving a shattered economy and restoring civil peace and security.

In an interview with Reuters, the country’s main leftist leader, Hamdeen Sabahi, endorsed ElBaradei for the tough job, saying the transition should be short to amend the constitution and elect a new president and parliament.

The military has given few details and no timeframe for a new ballot – adding to political uncertainty at a time when many Egyptians fear violence could polarize society even further.

Egypt’s first freely elected president was toppled after mass demonstrations against Muslim Brotherhood rule, the latest twist in a tumultuous two years since the fall of Hosni Mubarak in the Arab Spring uprisings that swept the region in 2011.

SINAI VIOLENCE

Five police officers were gunned down in separate incidents in the North Sinai town of El Arish, and while it was not clear whether the attacks were linked to Mursi’s ouster, hardline Islamists there have warned they would fight back.

There more attacks on army checkpoints in the lawless Sinai peninsula overnight and gunmen fired on central security building in the town of El-Arish, security sources said.

A new Islamist group announced its formation in the lawless Sinai peninsula adjoining Israel and the Gaza Strip, calling the army’s ousting of Mursi a declaration of war on their faith and threatening violence to impose Islamic law.

The group, calling itself Ansar al-Shariah in Egypt, said it would gather arms and start training its members, in a statement posted on an online forum for militants in the country’s Sinai region recorded by SITE Monitoring.

The events of the last week have aroused concern among Egypt’s allies in the West, including key donors the United States and the European Union, and in Israel, with which Egypt has had a U.S.-backed peace treaty since 1979.

Egyptian newspapers quoted ElBaradei as saying he expected Gulf Arab monarchies that were hostile to the Brotherhood’s rule to pile in with financial support for the new authorities.

Only gas-rich Qatar provided substantial funds to Mursi’s government with a total of $7 billion in loans and grants. Turkey and Libya also provided smaller loans and deposits.

Mursi’s overthrow was greeted with wild scenes of celebration but infuriated supporters who fear a return to the suppression of Islamists they endured under military rule.

It has deepened Egypt’s crisis. The Brotherhood has spurned army invitations to join an inclusive transition plan, culminating in fresh elections, saying it will not recognize the “usurper authorities”.

RISING TENSIONS
Early on Friday, three protesters were shot dead outside the Republican Guard barracks where deposed Mursi is being held, security sources said.

The army denied responsibility for the shootings. An army spokesman said troops did not open fire on the demonstrators and soldiers used blank rounds and teargas to control the crowd.

It was unclear whether other security forces were present.

Later, tens of thousands of cheering Islamists gathered near a mosque in a Cairo suburb where they were addressed by Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie, free to address them despite reports on Thursday that he had been arrested.

Badie, like some other leaders, pledge that it was worth “our lives” to restore Mursi to the presidency. But Brotherhood officials have also insisted they will not resort to violence.

After dark, running battles broke out in the area between Tahrir Square, scene of the demonstrations that toppled Mubarak, and the state broadcasting headquarters. Reuters journalists saw hundreds of youths from either side skirmish around the highway ramps of a major bridge over the Nile.

The violence will ring alarm bells in the United States. Washington has so far avoided referring to the army’s removal of Mursi as a “coup”, a word that under U.S. law would require a halt to its $1.5 billion in annual aid.

But many Egyptians see the army as a guarantor of stability at a dangerous time for the world’s most populous Arab nation.

“Maybe they will need to issue a curfew. Maybe the trouble will last a few days,” said Said Asr, 41, sitting with friends outside a Cairo cafe smoking a cigarette. “But the army is everything in this country. And they are taking control.”

EGYPT: Analyst Describes Military Take Over As ‘Disciplined, Organised’

An International Relations Analyst, Dapo Thomas, has described the military intervention in Egypt’s democractic government as ‘a disciplined and organised’ step.

He added that the Egyptian government failed to keep to their promise and encroached on the people’s rights.

Speaking on Channels Television breakfast show Sunrise Daily, Mr. Thomas said the Egyptians protest was due to the dissatisfaction of the people and the inablity of the government to meet the needs of the people.

He explained that the Egyptians have not benfitted anything from the Mursi led adminsitration.

Speaking about the international community’s condemnation of the army’s intervention, he said there would certainly be diverse positions on the matter.

He mentioned that the country will not be in isolation despite different oppositions.

 

Gaza truce pressure builds up as diplomatic interventions intensify

Hopes of a positive truce have been raised as diplomatic interventions intensify to stem the tide of violence in Gaza between Hamas and Israel as the conflict enters its seventh day.

Israeli leaders met late into the night to discuss Egyptian proposals to end the violence.
Further talks are expected to take place in Cairo on today.

More than 100 people have died in the Gaza strip since the Israel bombardment began and at least three Israelis have been killed by rockets fired by Palestinian militants.

However, Israeli officials are quoted as saying that any possible ground invasion of Gaza has been put on hold while the ceasefire talks continue.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his top ministers debated their next moves in a meeting that lasted into the early hours of Tuesday.
“Before deciding on a ground invasion, the prime minister intends to exhaust the diplomatic move in order to see if a long-term ceasefire can be achieved,” a senior Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said after the meeting.

Any diplomatic solution may pass through Egypt, Gaza’s other neighbor and the biggest Arab nation, where the ousting of U.S. Ally Hosni Mubarak and election of President Mohamed Mursi is part of a dramatic reshaping of the Middle East, wrought by the Arab Spring and now affecting the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Mursi, whose Muslim Brotherhood was mentor to the founders of Hamas, took a call from Obama on Monday telling him the group must stop rocket fire into Israel – effectively endorsing Israel’s stated aim in launching the offensive last week. Obama, as quoted by the White House, also said he regretted civilian deaths – which have been predominantly among the Palestinians.

“The two leaders discussed ways to de-escalate the situation in Gaza, and President Obama underscored the necessity of Hamas ending rocket fire into Israel,” the White House said.

“President Obama then called Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel and received an update on the situation in Gaza and Israel. In both calls, President Obama expressed regret for the loss of Israeli and Palestinian civilian lives.”

Three Israeli civilians and 108 Palestinians have been killed. Gaza officials say more than half of those killed in the enclave were civilians, 27 of them children.