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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Civil war in Egypt

The picture above was taken in Tahrir Square in Cairo around 7:00 pm on Saturday by an Egyptian blogger named The Big Pharoah. But the action is happening elsewhere in Cairo at a rally of supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted President Mohammed Morsy. The Egyptian health ministry is admitting to 38 deaths at that rally, while the Brotherhood is claiming that more than 100 people have been killed and some 1500 wounded (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
The anti-Morsi camp occupied Cairo's Tahrir Square in support of the army, after its chief, Gen Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, had urged people to demonstrate to provide a mandate for its intervention.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Morsi supporters continued their sit-in protest at the mosque in the Nasr City area.
On Saturday, Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim vowed to end the sit-in, saying local residents had complained about the encampment.
He said the protest would be "brought to an end soon, and in a legal manner" with an order from the prosecutor, although this has yet to happen.
The BBC's Jim Muir in Cairo says the latest violence is the most serious since the army's intervention to remove President Morsi, but this does not appear to have been a planned campaign to clear the area around the mosque.
It appears that clashes began after some of the Morsi supporters tried to block a main road in the area, and security forces responded.
The state news agency Mena quotes a security official as saying they had been trying to stop fighting between rival sides, and that eight security personnel had been injured.
The official added that live fire had not been used, only tear gas.
But our correspondent says medics at the hospital believed about 70% of the casualties were caused by live fire - with many of the victims hit in the chest or head by snipers firing from rooftops.
Ahmed Nashar, a Brotherhood spokesman witnessed what happened near the Nasr City mosque where demonstrators built a wall to protect themselves.
"When I arrived, bullets were whizzing past my ears," he told the BBC. "Today was just brutal - people were fired at, with live firearms."
Our correspondent says Morsi supporters are furious about the role the military is taking, and in particular the head of the army, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, whom they say is killing Egyptians.
Does anyone really see western troops being sent in to fight for Morsy? I wouldn't hold my breath. Much as President Hussein Obama is in love with the Muslim Brotherhood, he wouldn't dare put American troops at risk for them. Would he?

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