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National Security Brief: Crisis In Egypt Worsens As Officials Announce Release Of Mubarak

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"National Security Brief: Crisis In Egypt Worsens As Officials Announce Release Of Mubarak"

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The Egyptian government acknowledged that security forces killed dozens of supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi they had detained in city-wide sweeps in Cairo to disperse demonstrations against the country’s military-led government.

“The deaths were the fourth mass killing of civilians since the military took control on July 3,” the New York Times reports, “but the first time so many had died while in government custody”:

While confirming the killings of the detainees on Sunday, the Ministry of the Interior said the deaths were the consequence of an escape attempt by Islamist prisoners. But officials of the main Islamist movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, described the deaths as “assassinations,” and said that the victims, which it said numbered 52, had been shot and tear-gassed through the windows of a locked prison van.

The violence in Egypt has claimed nearly 1,000 lives since last Wednesday and the detainee killings, the Times adds, “were the latest indication that Egypt is careering into uncharted territory, with neither side willing to back down, Egyptians increasingly split over the way forward and no obvious political solution in sight.”

Egypt’s military ruler, Gen. Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, who led the coup against Morsi last July, vowed further crackdowns. “We will not be silent in the face of the destruction of the country and the people, of the burning of the homeland and terrorizing innocent people,” Sissi said, adding that Morsi supporters are welcome “to participate in rebuilding of the democratic path and to engage in the political process, according to the map of the future rather than confrontation and destruction of the Egyptian state.”

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that “Egypt’s military-led government said it was ‘reviewing’ its strategic relationships with the U.S. and other Western governments critical of its crackdown on Islamists, deepening the divide between the Obama administration and Cairo.”

And while the U.S. has so far refused to cut off military aid, the State Department “has put a hold on financing for economic programs that directly involve the Egyptian government, administration officials said, out of a concern that the military-led government might have violated Congressional rules prohibiting aid to countries where there has been a coup.”

The European Union is looking at cutting off funding to Egypt as well as the Financial Times says the EU “is to ‘urgently review’ relations with Egypt and will consider suspending aid to the country.”

To add fuel to the fire, judicial authorities announced on Monday that they have ordered the release of former President Honsi Mubarak, who has been detained since his ouster in 2011. However, the New York Times reports that it’s possible “the authorities would find other ways to keep him in detention.”

In other news:

  • Los Angeles Times reported on Saturday: More than two months after they were promised, U.S. weapons and ammunition have not reached America’s allies among the Syrian rebels, and their delivery date remains unclear, according to the Syrian opposition and Middle Eastern diplomats.
  • The AP reports: The U.N. refugee agency says that around 30,000 Syrians have fled to Iraq’s northern self-ruled Kurdish region since Thursday, an unusually large exodus from Syria’s bloody two-year conflict.
  • The New York Times reports: The partner of Glenn Greenwald, the journalist for The Guardian who has been publishing information leaked by the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden, was detained for nine hours by the British authorities under a counterterrorism law while on a stop in London’s Heathrow Airport during a trip from Germany to Brazil, Mr. Greenwald said Sunday.
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