By July 8, 2013 0 Comments Read More →

42 Morsi Supporters Dead, As Calls for Jihad Against the Egyptian Military Intensify (Video)

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At least 42 people were killed on Monday when Islamist demonstrators enraged by the military overthrow of Egypt’s elected President Mohamed Morsi said the army opened fire during morning prayers at the Cairo barracks where he is being held. Morsi supporters said this was only a “sit-in”.

The opinions on the attack are sharply divided.  The military, and their masses of supporters, say this was not unprovoked. According to them, “a terrorist group” tried to storm the Republican Guard compound and one army officer had been killed and 40 wounded. Soldiers returned fire when they were attacked by armed assailants, a military source said. The military has also said that Morsi-supporters who they have fired on at protests were directly attacking them, and that the shootings were acts of self-defense. Videos seeming to corroborate this have begun surfacing from anti-Morsi sources.

The emergency services said more than 320 were wounded in a sharp escalation of Egypt’s political crisis, and Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood urged people to rise up against the army, which they accuse of a military coup to remove the elected leader.

At a hospital near the Rabaa Adawia mosque where Islamists have camped out since Morsi was toppled on Wednesday, rooms were crammed with people wounded in the violence, sheets were stained with blood and medics rushed to attend to the wounded.

As an immediate consequence, the ultra-conservative Islamist Nour party, which initially backed the military intervention, said it was withdrawing from stalled negotiations to form an interim government for the transition to fresh elections.

The military has said that the overthrow was not a coup, and it was enforcing the will of the people after millions took to the streets on June 30 to call for his resignation.

But pro- and anti-Morsi protests took place in Cairo, Alexandria and other cities, and resulted in clashes on Friday and Saturday that left 35 dead, even before the recent death of 42 at morning prayers today.

 

A “Coup” or an “Uprising”? Is it now just legal jargon?

All of this leaves the Arab world’s largest nation of 84 million people in a perilous state, with the risk of further enmity between people on either side of the political divide while an economic crisis deepens.

Washington has not officially condemned the military takeover or called it a coup, prompting suspicion within the Brotherhood that it tacitly supports the overthrow. But the Obama administration has voiced its support for Morsi and demanded that the military immediately reinstate the ousted president.

Moreover, Obama has ordered a review to determine whether annual U.S. assistance of $1.5 billion, most of which goes to the Egyptian military, should be cut off as required by law if a country’s military overthrows a democratically elected leader.

Egypt can ill afford to lose foreign aid. The country appears headed for a looming funding crunch unless it can quickly access money from overseas. The local currency has lost 11 percent of its value since late last year.

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Morsi’s Supporters

The pro-Morsi camp is refusing to leave the streets until its leader is restored – an unlikely outcome.

“We will continue our peaceful demonstrations,” Ahmed Aref, the senior Brotherhood spokesman, said. “We are the owners of a just cause. Legitimate rights do not disappear with time. We are facing an enforced disappearance of the legitimate president.”

But there were more dramatic calls for resistance from militant groups.

Salafi Jihad issued a call to “intifada”, a “clarion call for Islamic revolution”.

“Anyone who knows an advocate or a sheikh or a revolutionary should call him to urge him to mobilise,” a statement said.

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Tahrir Square

On the other side of the political divide, hundreds of thousands of Morsi’s opponents poured into Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the cradle of the popular uprising to oust him.

On Sunday night, a carnival atmosphere took hold, and a troupe of folk musicians played darabukka drums and mizmar flutes as others danced and let off fireworks.

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There is little question that the numbers are behind the throngs of Egyptians who have filled Tahrir square with anti-Morsi signs, cheering the military. Today, they can be seen with signs declaring that the military actions were on behalf of a popular revolution, and are not a “coup” in the traditional sense of the word.

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