Egypt army kills dozens; Brotherhood urges uprising
Egyptian army soldiers take their positions near armored vehicles to guard the entrances of Tahrir square in Cairo July 8. AP PhotoEgypt plunged into further chaos today as the Muslim Brotherhood called for an uprising after the army killed at least 51 supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi in a demonstration against last week’s military coup.
“The Freedom and Justice Party, the brotherhood’s political arm, calls on the great Egyptian people to rise up against those who want to steal their revolution with tanks and armored vehicles, even over the dead bodies of the people,” a statement on the party’s Facebook page said.
The brotherhood said activists were holding dawn prayers at their protest camp outside the Cairo headquarters of the elite Republican Guards, where Morsi is being held, when security forces “massacred” them.
But the army said “armed terrorists” tried to attack, leaving one dead and six badly wounded.
The brotherhood also urged “the international community and international groups and all the free people of the world to intervene to stop further massacres ... and prevent a new Syria in the Arab world.”
A senior medical official said at least 51 people were killed and 435 wounded in the shooting. Egypt’s interim leader, Adly Mansour, launched an investigation into the violence.
“The president of the republic is forming a judicial commission to investigate the events at the Republican Guard” headquarters, state television reported. Presidency spokesman Ahmed al-Muslimani said violent clashes that led to the death of dozens would not derail efforts to form a new interim government. “What happened will not stop steps to form a government or the [political] roadmap,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sunni Islam’s leading cleric, Ahmed al-Tayyeb, said he will retire into seclusion until the end of violence. Talks on forming a new government were already in trouble before today’s attack, after Salafi al-Nour Party rejected liberal politician Mohamed ElBaradei for the prime ministry. Mansour aides had said before the deadly violence that he was leaning toward appointing center-left lawyer Ziad Bahaa Eldin as prime minister with ElBaradei as vice president. The al-Nour party, which won almost a quarter of votes in a 2011 parliamentary election and had given its support to the army’s overthrow of Morsi, said it was pulling out of talks on a new government in response to the “massacre.”
ElBaradei said the country was in “dire need” of reconciliation and condemned all violence after the deadly attack. “Violence is not the approach no matter what its source, and it must be strongly condemned. I call for an immediate independent and transparent investigation. Egypt is in dire need of reconciliation,” he wrote on Twitter. The main left-wing political leader, meanwhile, called for the immediate formation of an interim government to fill a dangerous political vacuum. Former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi, leader of the Popular Current Party, told Reuters the new authorities created when the army toppled Morsi could not afford to wait.
Adding to the woes of Islamists, Egypt’s prosecution ordered the closure of the Cairo headquarters of the Freedom and Justice Party after police found weapons inside it today. Police found “flammable liquid, knives and arms to be used against the June 30 protests,” the official said.
West concerned over killlings
LONDON / BERLIN
Governments have reacted strongly to the deadly clashes between Egyptian troops and supporters of the ousted President Mohamed Morsi. Britain called for movement toward free and fair elections and agreement on a democratic constitution, and called on Egyptian authorities to carry out an investigation into the events that led to the deaths. The German Foreign Ministry said it was “dismayed” over reports of violence and called for a “speedy clarification” by an independent body into the events surrounding the latest killings. The ministry also advised that travel to Egypt except for the Red Sea and Sinai beaches was strongly discouraged. The European Union also condemned the killings and said it was keeping its billions of euros in aid pledged to the country “under constant review.”
At EU-Egypt talks in November following the election of Morsi, the bloc pledged nearly five billion euros ($6.4 billion) in loans and grants for 2012-2013 plus potential loans through the European Investment Bank of up to one billion euro a year. Qatar also expressed “great concern” over the deadly clashes and urged authorities to guarantee the “rights and protections” for all groups to express their views. Gaza’s rulers Hamas also condemned the killings and expressed “extreme pain and grief for the falling of these victims,” but stopped short of taking sides in the unfolding crisis in its neighbor.