Egyptian soldiers take out barbed wire that was surrounding the Supreme Constitutional Court in Cairo ahead of planned demonstrations on August 18, 2013.
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UPDATE: 8/19/13 8:10 AM ET

Hosni Mubarak to go free?

According to his lawyer, Egypt's last deposed president but one could be released this week.

Hosni Mubarak has been in jail on charges from embezzlement to killing protesters since he was overthrown in the 2011 revolution. Now all but one of the corruption cases has been resolved, his lawyer tells Reuters, clearing the way for Mubarak to walk free in "no more than 48 hours."

But what about his retrial — repeatedly adjourned and currently in limbo — for complicity in the deaths of hundreds of protesters in 2011? 

Read the full story here.

UPDATE: 8/19/13 3:20 AM ET

Ambush in the Sinai

At least 24 policemen were killed in the Sinai peninsula today, Egyptian security officials tell the Associated Press.

They blame the attack on "suspected militants" who reportedly fired rocket-propelled grenades at two police buses as they drove through the northern Sinai, near the border town of Rafah.

The BBC reports that armed men forced officers to disembark and then shot them. Three survived with injuries.

UPDATE: 8/18/13 8:15 PM ET

Egypt doesn't matter anymore?

— TIME magazine stirs the pot with a provocative opinion piece on why Egypt is no longer the center of the Arab world.

UPDATE: 8/18/13 8:11 PM ET

Egypt stock market tumbles after reopening

— Not unexpected, but now it's official: Egypt's stock exchange dropped 2.5 percent when it reopened on Sunday after a three day break.

UPDATE: 8/18/13 6:25 PM ET

Egypt police say 36 Islamist prisoners died from tear gas

— AFP reports that 36 Egyptian Islamist prisoners killed on Sunday during an attempted prison break died after suffocating on tear gas, the interior ministry said in a statement.

— Offering a very different version of events, a legal source told Reuters 38 men had died from asphyxiation in the back of a crammed police van. The Muslim Brotherhood said it holds authorities responsible for the deaths.

UPDATE: 8/18/13 6:15 PM ET

Congress split over cutting aid to Egypt

— Opinions among lawmakers remained split on Sunday over whether the US should cut off or suspend aid to Egypt.

— The US spends roughly $1.5 billion a year on assistance to Egypt with much of it going to financing the purchase of US military equipment. 

UPDATE: 8/18/13 12:57 PM ET

What's next for Egypt?

— Egypt's escalating crisis is far too volatile for any declarative statements, analysts say. But NPR details three possible scenarios that could play out. 

UPDATE: 8/18/13 12:51 PM ET

El Baradei leaves for Austria

— On Sunday morning, Mohamed El Baradei, former Vice President for Foreign Affairs, boarded a plane headed to Austria, according to reports.

— He declined to answer questions at the airport, leaving uncertainty around why he was leaving and whether or not he would return 

UPDATE: 8/18/13 12:45 PM ET

Some protests ongoing

— The mass protests promised by the Muslim Brotherhood for Sunday do not appear to have materialized yet, but some smaller demonstrations are being documented across the country.

UPDATE: 8/18/13 10:55 AM ET

Muslim Brotherhood calls off protests

— The BBC is reporting that the Muslim Brotherhood has called off planned protests for today amid security concerns.

UPDATE: 8/18/13 10:10 AM ET

Latest updates

— The death toll after four days of violence has topped 750, though many call this estimate conservative.

— Pro-Morsi followers are planning protests for later today. They have announced two major rallies in east and south Cairo following afternoon prayers at 1400 GMT.

— Egypt authorities have heighetened security ahead of the planned protests, and raided the homes of several Muslim Brotherhood members.

— Dozens of Muslim Brotherhood members were arrested today across the country, security forces told the BBC.

UPDATE: 8/17/13 10:51 PM ET

More news tomorrow

This live blog is now closed until Sunday morning Boston time. For the latest Egypt news, check here.

UPDATE: 8/17/13 6:45 PM ET

How American hopes for a deal in Egypt were undercut

— Amr Darrag, Morsi adviser and top negotiator for the Islamist coalition, said Americans and Europeans were furious, feeling deceived and manipulated.

“They were used to justify the violence,” Darrag told the New York Times. “They were just brought in so that the coup government could claim that the negotiations failed, and in fact, there were no negotiations.”

UPDATE: 8/17/13 6:32 PM ET

Top 10 reasons why US aid to Egypt is unlikely to stop

— Continued unrest has upped the pressure on Obama to cut off military aid to Egypt. Juan Cole says it is the "only legal and ethical thing to do," but there are reasons Washington has a hard time taking that step.

UPDATE: 8/17/13 6:28 PM ET

Snipers caught on camera firing at peaceful protesters

— This video, showing footage aired by AA Arabic, purports to show snipers firing on protesters after they were caught on camera:

UPDATE: 8/17/13 6:19 PM ET

Experts reflect on latest round of Egypt violence

— Al Jazeera canavassed leading Middle East experts on the recent developments in Egypt. 

Mahmood Mamdani: "The debate on coup or revolution is now moot. The restoration of the Morsi government is no longer a possibility, if it ever was after June 30. In the weeks and months that follow, new coalitions will have to be forged and new paths charted."

Read more.

UPDATE: 8/17/13 6:04 PM ET

English actor Benedict Cumberbatch has an awesome message for paparazzi

UPDATE: 8/17/13 5:15 PM ET

Army-backed gov't mulls banning Muslim Brotherhood

— Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood risks political elimination, with the new army-backed government threatening to ban the Islamist organization

UPDATE: 8/17/13 5:01 PM ET

Al Qaeda leader's brother arrested in Egypt

Mohammed al-Zawahri, the younger brother of Ayman al-Zawahri, has been arrested in Egypt, security sources said Saturday. He was detained at a checkpoint in the Cairo suburb of Giza, the sources said.

— The younger Al-Zawahri has been a vocal supporter of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood movement and the more extreme group to which he belongs, Al Gama'a Al Islamiya.

— According to AP, his arrest came in connection with the raid on Al-Fath mosque, where hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood had been hiding out overnight. Officials said he planned to bring in armed groups to provide support to those holed up inside the mosque.

UPDATE: 8/17/13 4:50 PM ET

Egypt officials complain of distorted media coverage

UPDATE: 8/17/13 1:10 PM ET

Cairo mosque 'cleared' after siege

— Egypt's security forces have cleared the Al-Fath mosque after the standoff with Muslim Brotherhood supporters barricaded inside, according to state media. 

— All the protesters have now been taken out of the mosque, and many have been arrested, security forces say. Though the BBC adds that it is difficult to verify security forces' claims.

UPDATE: 8/17/13 1:04 PM ET

Muslim Brotherhood leader's son among those killed

— A son of the leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood was killed during protests against the army-backed interim government, the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party said Saturday.

— Ammar Badie, son of Mohammed Badie, was shot dead in Cairo’s Ramses Square on Friday, the party said on its website.

UPDATE: 8/17/13 12:55 PM ET

Video of soldiers escorting women away from besieged mosque:

UPDATE: 8/17/13 12:44 PM ET

Muslim Brotherhood leader's son among those killed

— A son of the leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood was killed during protests against the army-backed interim government, the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party said Saturday.

— Ammar Badie, son of Mohammed Badie, was shot dead in Cairo’s Ramses Square on Friday, the party said on its website.

UPDATE: 8/17/13 9:18 AM ET

Intense gunfire in central Cairo

— Egyptian security forces surrounded Al-Fath mosque in Cairo, which was full of Morsi supporters on Saturday. 

The Washington Post reported intense gunfire in central Cairo on Saturday:

"Footage broadcast on state television showed troops in armored vehicles and exchanging fire with gunmen in the minaret of the mosque, where many of those wounded in the violence on Friday were being treated, along with people who had fled the gunfire the day before."

— The death toll from Friday's street battles has reached at least 83, according to AFP.

UPDATE: 8/17/13 8:42 AM ET

Reporter's notebook from Ramses Square:

The scene of the most intense violence Friday was Ramses Square. GlobalPost's Louisa Loveluck was there:

"...when the first pops of gunfire sounded out from atop the October 6th Bridge, a flyover that crosses the square, the protesters' mood changed in a moment.

Crowds below stood frozen as they watched the dozens marching on the bridge flatten to the ground.

Then the square sprang into life: young men lit fires to combat police tear gas, ripped iron fences from the ground and broke up the pavement to hurl back at security forces."

For more from the scene, click here.

UPDATE: 8/16/13 5:36 PM ET

More news tomorrow

This live blog is now closed until Saturday morning Boston time. For the latest Egypt news, check here.

UPDATE: 8/16/13 5:26 PM ET

Latest updates

— Reliable reports say that between 60 and 80 people were killed in today's violence. With many injured and clashes continuing, that number is likely to rise.

— The scene of the most intense violence Friday was Ramses Square, which saw masses of protesters. On Wednesday, it was Rabaa el Adaweya, the main site of protest.

— Wednesday was the single deadliest day in Egypt's modern history, according to ABC. The health ministry counted some 700 bodies by the end of that day.

— There's every indication violence will continue. As select Brotherhood supporters defy curfews, the military has promised to "deal firmly" with those caught outside after hours. Protesters say they'll continue to fill streets during daylight hours for the next week.

UPDATE: 8/16/13 4:50 PM ET

Viral videos

Several videos have made the rounds on social media in the last 24 hours.

Yesterday, this video captured a truck that appeared to be pushed off the edge of an overpass in Cairo:

Today, a video showing an unarmed protester apparently gunned down by tank fire has disturbed viewers:

UPDATE: 8/16/13 3:48 PM ET

Thousands ignore curfew at their own risk

Although there's technically a curfew in place in areas across Egypt right now, rallies continue in Cairo, with thousands still in the streets.

The military promised to "deal firmly" with those who defy the curfew, CNN reported — which probably went without saying, given the brutality of events in recent days. On Friday, the US urged the Egyptian military to avoid lethal force in controlling protests.

"We again urge all sides to cease violence, and we note that government has a particular responsibility to ensure an atmosphere that allows Egyptians to exercise peacefully their universal rights," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told AFP in an email.

"Lethal force should not be used against peaceful demonstrators. Demonstrators must also demonstrate peacefully."

UPDATE: 8/16/13 3:13 PM ET

The big issue in Egypt that no one's talking about

BEIRUT, Lebanon — It's at the root of all the country's problems, and it just got a whole lot worse.

Already in crisis, Egypt’s economy has been further damaged by a stunning intensification of violence as the country’s military-backed government moves to crush a protest movement to reinstate ousted President Mohamed Morsi.

Major multinational companies, banks and the stock exchange shut down this week. Western governments are advising their citizens to stay away.

General Motors, Toyota, Royal Dutch Shell and Electrolux are among the businesses that have stopped operations in the country, the firms announced Thursday. Many more multinationals said they are experiencing disruptions, including security lockdowns and shorter hours

Read the rest of this report from Farah Halime for GlobalPost.

UPDATE: 8/16/13 2:59 PM ET

As foreign pressure mounts, the fight at home isn't over

AFP — A coalition of Egyptian Islamists called an end to rallies on Friday that sparked deadly clashes nationwide, but said they would press on with daily protests.

"Today's rallies end with evening and night prayers (at about 1800 GMT), and will be followed by funeral prayers," Anti-Coup Alliance spokesman Gehad El-Haddad said.

"There will be daily anti-coup rallies," he told AFP.

Meanwhile, foreign leaders continue to weigh in.

The Iranian foreign minister on Friday urged the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to intervene in member state Egypt to contain a deadly crackdown on Islamists, state television reported.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron added his voice to the chorus of European nations, including France and Germany, who say they'll review their relationships with Egypt in response to the violence.

"The EU should be clear and united in its message: the violence must end immediately and there needs to be a political dialogue, involving all sides, that leads to genuine democracy," a Cameron spokesman said.

UPDATE: 8/16/13 2:48 PM ET

Trouble in the Sinai?

Al Jazeera reports explosions in the Sinai peninsula. The report has not yet been corroborated by other sources.

UPDATE: 8/16/13 12:45 PM ET

First-hand accounts

Yesterday it was Rabaa; today it's Ramses that is the epicenter of heavy casualties. While the official count of the dead stands at 12, reporters on the scene and eyewitnesses have counted between 20 and more than 40 bodies there since the day began.

It's been three days now since the intense violence kicked off. The Associated Press authenticated this amateur video of clashes on Wednesday:

UPDATE: 8/16/13 12:31 PM ET

Diplomatic and economic fallout

Germany said Friday it will "review its relations" with Egypt.

"The chancellor explained that the government, in view of the latest developments, would review its relations with Egypt," Chancellor Angela Merkel's office said in a statement following a meeting with French President Francois Hollande. "She and the [French] president broadly agreed that the EU should also thoroughly review its relations with Egypt."

Turkey and Egypt have also cancelled joint naval drills after the two countries recalled their respective ambassadors yesterday. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned yesterday's violence against peaceful protesters as a "massacre;" Cairo accuses Turkey in turn of "clear interference" in Egypt's domestic affairs.

Tourism to Egypt, meanwhile, is predictably in "meltdown." That's more bad news for Egypt's faltering economy, of which tourism makes up 11 percent of GDP.

UPDATE: 8/16/13 12:16 PM ET

Saudi stands with Sisi

AFP — Saudi King Abdullah pledged his country's support to Egypt's fight on "terrorism," saying it was the military-backed government's "legitimate right," in a speech aired on official Al-Ekhbariya television Friday.

Saudi Arabia "has stood and stands with its Egyptian brothers against terrorism, deviance and sedition, and against those who try to interfere in Egypt's internal affairs... and its legitimate rights in deterring those tampering with and misleading" its people, he said.

UPDATE: 8/16/13 11:54 AM ET

'As Obama dithers, the region is spinning out of control'

"Mixed messages have made the United States a punching bag for both sides in the Egyptian conflict," writes GlobalPost's Jean Mackenzie.

"A dangerous pattern of passivity in the face of crisis has robbed the Obama administration of the moral high ground and made it less likely that any real action can or will be taken in other hot spots such as Syria," she adds.

In a timely analysis, MacKenzie explores what's become of American Middle East policy, and what it means for the world. Read her take here.

UPDATE: 8/16/13 11:49 AM ET

Another mosque becomes a morque

GlobalPost's Louisa Loveluck sends this update from Cairo:

"For the third time in three days, a Cairo mosque has been turned into a temporary morgue. Today, it is the el-Fath mosque in Ramses Square.

"Early on, after clashes erupted at the pro-Morsi demonstration outside, I saw four corpses stacked along the far side of the prayer hall. Dozens of injured protesters, all suffering from gunshot wounds, were being treated on the floor, which in parts was awash with blood.

"Sitting slumped against a wall, a 12 year old girl sat unattended. She had been shot in both legs."

Loveluck spoke with NBC this morning from the makeshift field hospital. Watch her report here:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

UPDATE: 8/16/13 10:59 AM ET

Death in Damietta

Today's violence isn't exclusive to Cairo. EFE reports eight are dead in Damietta, a port city in the Nile River Delta region, after supporters and opponents of Mohamed Morsi clashed there.

Meanwhile, dozens of deaths have been reported so far today in Egypt's capital. The official Friday count from the health ministry remains at 12.

UPDATE: 8/16/13 10:30 AM ET

Chaos in Ramses Square

There's chaos and violence in Ramses Square and panic on the May 15 and October 6 bridges in Cairo, where protesters have been photographed jumping from the span. The Telegraph reports 20 dead in Ramses.

UPDATE: 8/16/13 8:40 AM ET

Shooting reported in Cairo

There are several reports of gunfire at the Muslim Brotherhood demonstration in Cairo.

UPDATE: 8/16/13 8:20 AM ET

First violence, deaths reported

AFP is reporting clashes in Cairo and elsewhere. According to state media, a policeman was killed in an armed attack on a checkpoint in Cairo. 

Meanwhile medical sources tell Reuters that police killed four Morsi supporters in the northeast city of Ismailia, next to the Suez Canal.

UPDATE: 8/16/13 8:15 AM ET

Thousands in Ramsis Square 

GlobalPost's Louisa Loveluck confirms that there are huge crowds in Cairo:

Ramses Square is filling up. Thousands have gathered here already, chanting against Egypt's military and police force.

"They thought they could break us, says Ahmed Hosny as he surveys the hoardes in front of him. "But today we will show the coup-leaders: we are not going away."

UPDATE: 8/16/13 7:50 AM ET

Tanks in Alexandria 

Security is also tight in Alexandria today. This photo shows tanks rolling along the city's coastal promenade:

AFP/Getty Images

UPDATE: 8/16/13 7:40 AM ET

Crowds gather in Ramsis 

According to pictures posted on Twitter, hundreds of people are descending on Ramsis Square in Cairo.

UPDATE: 8/16/13 7:30 AM ET

March on Ramsis Square 

The focus for today's march is Ramsis Square, in downtown Cairo.

This map shows where it is:

View Larger Map

UPDATE: 8/16/13 7:10 AM ET

'We are all Egyptian' 

It's not just in Egypt that Mohamed Morsi's supporters are rallying. People sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood's cause have held protests all over the world in the days since Wednesday's crackdown.

This picture shows Malaysian women demonstrating in Kuala Lumpur earlier today:


UPDATE: 8/16/13 6:50 AM ET

Midday prayers end 

It's almost 1 p.m. in Egypt and Friday prayers are ending. That means we can expect to see the Muslim Brotherhood's supporters taking to the streets any time now.

UPDATE: 8/16/13 4:00 AM ET

'For now, all is quiet' 

From Cairo, GlobalPost's Louisa Loveluck sends this update:

The Egyptian military have blocked off Tahrir Square as they brace themselves for a day of protests across the capital. Each entrance is cordoned off with a thick roll of barbed wire; army troops watch passersby warily from inside the square.

The Brotherhood have promised a "Friday of Rage," with Morsi supporters set to descend upon Ramses Square after midday prayers. Earlier this month, supporters of the former president clashed with police here, and there are fear that the same will happen again today. For now, though, all is quiet.

UPDATE: 8/16/13 3:45 AM ET

Egypt's interim leaders say criticism of crackdown empowers militant groups 

In response to Barack Obama's statement condemning the killing of civilians and canceling joint US-Egypt military drills, Egypt's interim goverment has accused the American president of encouraging violent factions that are deliberately trying to spread chaos.

According to the Associated Press:

Egypt's interim government issued a late night statement saying the country is facing "terrorist actions targeting government and vital institutions" by "violent militant groups." The statement expressed "sadness" for the killings of Egyptians and pledged to work on restoring law and order.

The statement also warned that Obama's position "while it's not based on facts can empower the violent militant groups and encourage them in its anti-stability discourse."

UPDATE: 8/16/13 3:25 AM ET

UN Security Council calls for 'maximum restraint'

The United Nations Security Council held an emergency meeting on Egypt last night at the request of members Australia, Britain and France. 

It came up with this statement: "The view of council members is that it is important to end violence in Egypt, and that the parties exercise maximum restraint." 

Not exactly strong stuff, but some say the fact the council summoned such an urgent meeting on the issue is significant in itself. 

UPDATE: 8/16/13 2:55 AM ET

A million-strong march?

Friday is set to be another tumultuous day in Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood has called for nationwide protests over Wednesday's crackdown, which are due to begin after noon prayers — approximately 3 hours from now.

"Despite the pain and sorrow over the loss of our martyrs, the latest coup makers' crime has increased our determination to end them," reads a Brotherhood statement issued late Thursday night, according to Reuters. The Brotherhood has dubbed today the "Friday of anger," the same name given to January 28, 2011, when Egyptians protesting against then president Hosni Mubarak forced the much hated police to retreat and the army to step in.

There are already signs that things will turn violent. "After the blows and arrests and killings that we are facing, emotions are too high to be guided by anyone," Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Heddad told Reuters.

Meanwhile the National Salvation Front, an anti-Morsi coalition, has called for counter-demonstrations today against what it calls the Brotherhood's "obvious terrorism actions."

Perhaps most worryingly, the police have been authorized to use live ammunition in "self-defense," the BBC reports

From GlobalPost's Louisa Loveluck in Cairo:

UPDATE: 8/15/13 3:56 PM ET

Security Council to hold emergency meeting

The UN Security Council will hold a meeting tonight to discuss the situation in Egypt, the Associated Press and Reuters report.

UPDATE: 8/15/13 3:50 PM ET

Israel keeps silent about Egypt's chaos

And it might just be the best strategy as neighboring Egypt careens into anarchy.

"In Egypt as in other Arab countries, the rival parties accuse each other of colluding with Israel because collaboration with Zionists remains the classic mark of shame that Arabs use against each other to this day. We have witnessed this in Libya, Tunisia, Syria and, of course, Egypt,” a senior Israeli official told GlobalPost.

“Now, if there is one thing Israel does not want to do, it is to interfere. We are in no position to tell anyone there what to do and quite humbly we should know our place. Any public statements can and will be used against us in the court of public opinion in Egypt. So the only option we have is to refrain from making any statement," he added.

Read the rest of this report from Jerusalem-based correspondent Noga Tarnopolsky.

UPDATE: 8/15/13 3:26 PM ET

The world may condemn it, but military crackdown has popular support at home

CAIRO, Egypt — As the Muslim Brotherhood sit-in outside Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adaweya mosque descended into chaos Wednesday — with police and army troops firing indiscriminately on thousands of protesters in broad daylight — Ragab Ahmed stood outside the building nearby where he works as a doorkeeper.

“I want to live in peace with them,” Ahmed said of the mostly Islamist demonstrators who had camped out for six weeks to protest the military ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi in July. “But the sit-in had to be dispersed.”

While loved ones still sifted through the charred corpses laid out at a Rabaa-area mosque Thursday to identify their kin after a fire gutted the demonstration’s makeshift morgue, many in Egypt, like Ahmed, applauded the army and police operation the morning after.

Even as world leaders condemn the army massacre in the capital, the move by the military-backed government has popular support at home.

Read the rest of this report from GlobalPost's Rebecca Collard.

Mohamed Abdel Khadr, a doorman, told GlobalPost: “General Abdel Fateh El-Sisi is just like Gamal Abdel Nasser,” referring to Egypt’s former president, a leader of the 1952 overthrow of the country’s monarchy. “He is strong and fair and from the people.”

UPDATE: 8/15/13 2:14 PM ET

With friends like these...

The top five recipients of US foreign aid aren't exactly poster children for peaceful, model democracies. GlobalPost created this chart showing where billions of taxpayers' dollars went as of 2011:

Kyle Kim/GlobalPost

Click through for a more detailed look.

UPDATE: 8/15/13 2:00 PM ET

France and Britain call for emergency UN Security Council meeting on Egypt

AFP reports that France and the UK have called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the situation in Egypt.

At a press conference this afternoon, a State Department spokeswoman said she didn't yet have an answer regarding the US position on an emergency meeting of the council.

UPDATE: 8/15/13 1:33 PM ET

State Dept comments on Egypt

Watch the State Department's daily press briefing, where Egypt is a leading topic. Live now:

UPDATE: 8/15/13 12:40 PM ET

Update from the ground

GlobalPost's Louisa Loveluck spoke with MSNBC this morning to give a summary of the situation in Cairo, where she's been reporting from the mosques to the morgues. Watch here:

UPDATE: 8/15/13 12:21 PM ET

Echoes of Iraq?

Several commentators have drawn parallels today between Egypt and Iraq, warning that political polarization in the North African country is reaching dangerous heights.

Erin Evers, a researcher at Human Rights Watch who has worked in both countries, writes for CNN:

"Iraq too is littered with checkpoints, far more numerous and permanent than in Cairo, and with bomb-scarred neighborhoods; radical Jihadist groups and security forces who commit abuses in the name of fighting terrorism. This is what I fear Egypt could become."

What do you think of the comparison? Share your thoughts in the comments.

UPDATE: 8/15/13 12:13 PM ET

Analysts fear more violence, repression 'inevitable'

Popular support for the interim government could lead to "an even wider crackdown on Morsi loyalists," AFP reported, citing analysts:

"The polarisation gets much, much worse" after the deaths, warned Michael Hanna, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, a US think-tank.

"The fact that the military has gone this far in terms of a crackdown makes the possibility for any near-term compromise for the Morsi camp impossible, and that in turn makes more repression inevitable," he said.

Read more analysts' comments here.

UPDATE: 8/15/13 12:05 PM ET

The protests aren't over

Not if the Anti-Coup Alliance has its way. The umbrella group, which includes the Muslim Brotherhood, told Al Jazeera that it is organizing mass rallies for Thursday evening.

UPDATE: 8/15/13 11:51 AM ET

Interior Ministry: Don't hold your fire

The Interior Ministry has told Egyptian security forces to use live ammunition on protesters who storm public buildings or attack police, Reuters reported. The announcement Thursday follows several mob attacks on official buildings that have left security officials dead and wounded.

UPDATE: 8/15/13 11:30 AM ET

Official death toll hits 700

Breaking reports say that Egypt's health ministry has raised its official body count to 700, with more than 3,000 recorded injured.

UPDATE: 8/15/13 11:20 AM ET

Isolated reports of fresh violence

Supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi launched attacks on police posts in two provinces on Thursday, killing at least two policemen, according to security officials speaking to AFP. Reuters reported attacks in the North Sinai that left four soldiers dead.

Hundreds of Morsi supporters also set fire to the offices of the governor of Cairo's Giza district on Thursday morning, NBC News reported.

A total of 43 police officers were reported killed in yesterday's clashes. But the civilian toll dwarfs that among security forces, with a total of 525 people reported dead so far. Sadly, the counting is far from over; Reuters' Alexander Dziadosz and Tom Perry report from Cairo that the charred and mutilated bodies of more than 200 Egyptians lie in just one mosque today, apparently uncounted and unacknowledged by the state.

Read the rest of their report.

UPDATE: 8/15/13 11:08 AM ET

UN calls for investigation into 'excessive use of force'

GENEVA (Reuters) — United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called on Thursday for an independent investigation into the killing of hundreds of Egyptians when security forces crushed Islamist protest camps.

Pillay, a former UN war crimes judge, said that the heavy toll in Wednesday's clashes in Cairo pointed to "an excessive, even extreme use of force against demonstrators" and she urged security forces to act with utmost restraint.

Read the rest of this report from Reuters.

UPDATE: 8/15/13 10:37 AM ET

After military's 'intervention,' US cancels joint military drills

The US has still not called it a coup. But President Obama deplored the violence interim authorities in Egypt have used in their "crackdown" on Morsi supporters, and announced Thursday that the US is cancelling the biannual military exercises between Egypt and the US meant to take place later this summer.

Given yesterday's deplorable violence, Obama said, "our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual."

"America cannot determine the future of Egypt," Obama said later, after calling Egypt earlier in his remarks "a cornerstone for peace in the Middle East."

"America wants to be a partner" to the Egyptian people going forward, the president said. "Democratic transitions are measured ... sometimes in generations," he added, drawing an analogy between the struggle for democracy in Egypt and America's fractious founding days.

Read a full transcript of Obama's remarks via the Washington Post.

Here's a selection of reaction from around the web: [View the story "Reactions to Obama's Egypt speech" on Storify]

UPDATE: 8/15/13 10:15 AM ET

Obama speaks

President Obama gave remarks about Egypt from Martha's Vineyard on Thursday morning. Watch the full video here.

UPDATE: 8/15/13 8:40 AM ET

The face of Egypt's grief

As the official death toll rises over 500, some of the powerful pictures coming out of Egypt help put that huge number in context.

This photo shows a woman grieving for her daughter, whose body lies among so many others in one of Cairo's makeshift morgues. 


UPDATE: 8/15/13 8:30 AM ET

Government offices attacked?

There are reports — apparently coming from Egypt's state media — that hundreds of the Muslim Brotherhood's supporters have attacked a government building in the Giza area of Cairo. 

UPDATE: 8/15/13 8:15 AM ET

What the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque looks like today

This picture shows what's left of the mosque at the center of the largest pro-Morsi protest camp, in eastern Cairo: 


UPDATE: 8/15/13 8:05 AM ET

Ambassadors summoned

Several countries have summoned Egypt's ambassadors to lodge their protests over Wednesday's crackdown, including France, Germany and the United Kingdom.

"Everything must be done to avoid a civil war," President Francois Hollande told the envoy to France.

Meanwhile Denmark has suspended all development aid to the Egyptian government, its foreign minister announced.

UPDATE: 8/15/13 7:50 AM ET

Where's Morsi while all this is going on?

... in custody, still. A judge has just extended the detention of deposed President Mohamed Morsi by another 30 days, Egypt's state news agency reports

He's been held since the military overthrew him on July 3, and stands accused of murder and other charges related to a jail break during the 2011 revolution.

Several other senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood are also detained.

UPDATE: 8/15/13 7:35 AM ET

Muslim Brotherhood on the march

The Muslim Brotherhood has begun a march through Cairo, according to correspondent Louisa Loveluck:

Pro-Morsi demonstrators have started to march from the el-Imam mosque, temporary home to hundreds of corpses from yesterday's killings. They clutch posters of the ousted president and direct their chants at the security services: "You killed our sons; we will see you tomorrow."

The Muslim Brotherhood have called upon supporters to take to the streets this afternoon, in a sign that yesterday's massacre was not the end of their fight to bring back President Morsi. 

UPDATE: 8/15/13 7:25 AM ET

'We later found him with a bullet in his head...'

Here's more from GlobalPost's Louisa Loveluck, reporting from one of Cairo's makeshift morgues:

Inside the el-Imam mosque, hundreds of bodies have been laid out along the floor. Shrouded in white shawls and bedsheets, the corpses have all come from the Rabaa al-Adawiya encampment, just a short distance away.

According to Human Rights Watch, there are 235 corpses here. Several have been burned. Their families say they were killed when tents were set ablaze in the chaos.

Ahmed Saleh stands by the body of his friend, Ahmed Abdel Maboud. "He called me at 5 a.m. to tell me he'd seen a strange deployment by the army," the young man tells me. "When I tried to contact him again, the lines were cut. We later found him with a bullet in his head."

Families are trying desperately to preserve the bodies as they lie in the hot mosque. They use ice-blocks and bottles of disinfectant, which seep onto the floor, leaving the carpets soaking wet. 

UPDATE: 8/15/13 7:15 AM ET

Latest death toll: 525

More than half a thousand people died in Wednesday's violence across Egypt, according to the latest health ministry figures.

Officials have once more raised the death toll, this time to 525. At least 202 people were killed at the larger of the two Muslim Brotherhood protest camps outside the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque.

More than 3,700 people were injured.

UPDATE: 8/15/13 6:10 AM ET

From mosque to morgue

GlobalPost's Louisa Loveluck is at Cairo's el-Iman mosque, where the Muslim Brotherhood has said it will lead a rally later on Thursday. The building is currently being used to store some of the bodies from Wednesday's violence.

UPDATE: 8/15/13 4:50 AM ET

400 and counting

The official death toll just keeps on climbing. The figure now stands at 421 dead and more than 3,500 injured, according to Egypt's health ministry. Those figures are for the whole of the country, not just Cairo.

Add in the 43 policemen that the interior ministry says were killed and you get a total of 464 deaths.

UPDATE: 8/15/13 4:15 AM ET

It 'had to happen'

Meanwhile, here's what interim prime minister Hazem El-Beblawi had to say in an address to the nation Wednesday night, as reported by state media:

"We respected the feelings of the Egyptians in Ramadan and Eid, but then the state had to intervene in order to restore the security of Egyptians... The dispersing of the sit-ins had to happen. 

"We demanded the police restrain itself to the maximum level... The first phase is achieved, but now with the current chaos the state has to intervene with exceptional procedures."

UPDATE: 8/15/13 3:40 AM ET

The world responds

Here's a round-up of official statements from other countries and international bodies:

• "I call on the security forces to exercise utmost restraint and on the interim government to end the state of emergency as soon as possible, to allow the resumption of normal life" — European Union foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton.

• United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called for "inclusive reconciliation."

• "It is clear that the international community, by supporting the military coup and remaining silent over previous massacres instead of protecting democracy and constitutional legitimacy in Egypt, has encouraged the current administration to carry out today's intervention. The international community, especially the UN Security Council and Arab League, must act immediately to stop this massacre" — Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

• UK Prime Minister David Cameron said the violence was "not going to solve anything" and called for "compromise from all sides."

• "France condemns most resolutely the bloody violence in Egypt and demands an immediate halt to the crackdown" — Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

• "Main responsibility with regime forces. Extremely hard to restore political process" — Sweden's Foreign Minister Carl Bildt.

• Russia "called on all political forces... to show restraint and calm... in order to avoid a further escalation and further loss of life."

• "Iran is following the bitter events in Egypt closely, disapproves of the violent actions, condemns the massacre of the population and warns of the serious consequences" — Iranian Foreign Ministry.

UPDATE: 8/15/13 3:10 AM ET

'Deplorable,' but deplorable enough to cut off US military aid?

Condemnation of Wednesday's violence has come from across the world, including the United States.

Secretary of State John Kerry called it "a serious blow to reconciliation...[Wednesday's] events are deplorable and they run counter to Egyptian aspirations for peace, inclusion, and genuine democracy."

Kerry urged all parties — including critics of the interim government and the military — to avoid violence and work toward a political solution. "I am convinced that that path is, in fact, still open and it is possible, though it has been made much, much harder, much more complicated," he said.

What the US says stands to have very real consequences, since it sends Egypt significant military aid — around $1.5 billion of it every year. If Washington dubs the events a coup, that automatically bans the Egyptian army from receiving any further US assistance. No one in the administration has cried coup yet.

Read Kerry's full statement here.

UPDATE: 8/15/13 2:45 AM ET

Just how deadly was it?

By early Thursday morning, the Egyptian health ministry had raised its nationwide death toll from 278 to 343, according to AFP, including 43 policemen and other security personnel. As AFP reporter Sara Hussein points out, that toll "makes Wednesday bloodier than even the 18 days of the 2011 uprising."

It's still a fraction of the 4,000-plus people who the Muslim Brotherhood claims were killed in Cairo alone.

Both sources clearly have vested interests, and neither count is independently verified.

UPDATE: 8/14/13 4:55 PM ET

Government counts 278 dead today

Today's death toll has now climbed to 278, according to the Egyptian health ministry. That number includes 43 policemen.

The worst fatalities occurred at the Rabaa al-Adawiya camp of Muslim Brotherhood supporters, with 124 dead, according to AFP.

GlobalPost's Louisa Loveluck spent a night in their camp last weekend, before the heavy bloodshed, as those protestors prepared for the worst. Read her story here.

UPDATE: 8/14/13 4:49 PM ET

The photos and videos you shouldn't miss

Egyptian photographer Mosa'ab Elshamy documented today's violence and shared his images with GlobalPost. See all of the shots here.

Img 2749

Meanwhile, citizen journalists have captured eye-witness video that shows just how bad things are getting in Egypt. See our selection of videos from five places that erupted in violence today.

UPDATE: 8/14/13 4:11 PM ET

UPDATE: 8/14/13 2:17 PM ET

Seen through social media

Netizens in Egypt are documenting the unrest through social media.

See more of the gritty Instagram images from today you won't want to miss.

UPDATE: 8/14/13 1:29 PM ET

UN head "regrets" use of force

"The Secretary-General condemns in the strongest terms the violence today in Cairo that occurred when Egyptian security services used force to clear Cairo of sit-ins and demonstrations," a representative of Ban Ki-moon said in a statement today.

The leader's office added that Ban is encouraging "genuinely inclusive reconciliation" among parties clashing in Egypt. But if history is any guide, unfortunately, that's a wishful goal.

Read the full UN statement here.

UPDATE: 8/14/13 12:20 PM ET

How should Egypt's allies react?

American influence in Cairo isn't what it once was. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait have just given Egypt $12 billion with no restrictions — that far exceeds total US aid annually. In this sense, Washington is no longer the only game in town.

But the US will want to safeguard the influence it does have with the military due to its own vital interests in Egypt. Read more from GlobalPost senior foreign affairs columnist Nicholas Burns on how the violence in Egypt will alter allies' diplomatic calculations.

UPDATE: 8/14/13 12:02 PM ET

Latest official death toll: 149

NBC cites a health official as saying that 149 people have now been confirmed dead from the ongoing violence. With the number of wounded officially at 1,403, it's likely the fatalies could rise substantially.

UPDATE: 8/14/13 11:56 AM ET

ElBaradei resigns

Breaking reports say that Egyptian Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei has resigned.

ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace laureate, returned to Egypt in February 2010 after retiring as chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency. He forged close ties with the liberal pro-democracy movement that spearheaded the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule in February, 2011.

Read more from AFP.

UPDATE: 8/14/13 11:43 AM ET

Extent of the unrest

Protests and ensuing clashes have taken place across the country today, with most of the violence concentrated in Cairo's Rabaa al-Adaweya and Nahda Squares. Egypt has declared a curfew in place overnight and a month-long state of emergency.

A Reuters reporter said most of the 29 dead he saw in a field hospital suffered gunshot wounds to the head. Outside the capital, attacks on churches and Coptic Christians have been reported.

AFP created a graphic that maps areas where clashes have occurred:

The White House has condemned the violence, warning Egypt's interim leaders that the "world is watching." But how will today's events impact Washington's policy toward Egypt?

"Washington should be discouraged by the state of emergency [declared by Egypt’s government] and should worry that the Egyptian military is reacting too harshly and without a long-term plan to cope with a badly divided country," says GlobalPost senior foreign affairs columnist Nicholas Burns. Read his full analysis here.

UPDATE: 8/14/13 11:12 AM ET

The chaos continues

As evening draws near in Cairo, with a curfew planned to be in place until 6am, there's no sign that the violence is letting up. Journalists at the scene report heavy casulaties. The official count from the health ministry is 95 dead and 874 wounded. But several reports say the death toll has already cleared 100, with Agence France-Presse counting 124 dead. A brotherhood spokesman put the number killed at 350.

Images shared on social media showed frantic teams of people trying to care for the dead and wounded.

UPDATE: 8/14/13 10:51 AM ET

The Rabaa encampment, before and after

Just before 9 a.m. EST, GlobalPost's Louisa Loveluck sent this report from the ground in Cairo:

"Inside the Rabaa al-Adaweya encampment, thousands of Morsi supporters are holding their ground. As they clamber onto the barricades, theyare chanting: "We give our blood and our soul for Islam." Female and older male protesters are huddling in tents, as gunfire continues to ring out. Stinging tear gas hangs in the air, and police sporadically fire fresh canisters into the crowd.

"Protesters have to move through a corridor of gunfire in order to access the Rabaa field hospital. Young men are continuously running the gauntlet, carrying the injured on stretchers."

This is a day the Brotherhood feared would come. Loveluck spent a night in their camp over the weekend, before the heavy bloodshed, as they prepared for the worst. Read her story here.

UPDATE: 8/14/13 9:17 AM ET

UPDATE: 8/14/13 9:05 AM ET

Pockets of Cairo look like a war zone after violent clearance of protest camps

Scores of people were killed Wednesday as Egyptian security forces began clearing two protest camps in central Cairo in an operation that left parts of the capital looking like a war zone.

Witnesses described hearing gunfire and seeing clouds of tear gas as security forces surrounded the camps outside the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque, in the east of the capital, and Nahda Square, in the west.

The operation began at around 7 a.m. By Wednesday afternoon, Agence France-Presse was reporting at least 124 deaths.

Graphic photos taken by journalists appeared to show rows of corpses piled up in a makeshift morgue. "Corridors at Rabaa Mosque hospital filled with dead and dying," tweeted the Independent's correspondent, Alistair Beach. "As one body is stretchered to morgue, others [are] brought in."

"Many people are being killed right now... What we can expect is only worse," a member of Egypt's Anti-Coup Alliance, a group that backs deposed president Mohamed Morsi, told Al Jazeera. "What's happening now is a crime against humanity."

The Health Ministry put the number of fatalities at 56 nationwide. At least two policemen were killed in Cairo, state media reported.

Egypt's Interior Ministry denied that live ammunition had been fired and said security forces were "committed to the utmost self-restraint" even when faced with attacks from "terrorist elements" among the protesters, according to CNN.

In a statement, the ministry said that "necessary measures" were being taken to disperse supporters of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, who have been camped out by the hundreds in Cairo since the military deposed Morsi six weeks ago.

The ministry's statement continued that it hoped "not to shed any Egyptian blood," according to the BBC, and promised that protesters would be offered a safe exit. 

It also warned that they could face prosecution if they remained in place, according to GlobalPost reporter Louisa Loveluck.

Security forces were apparently attempting to prevent journalists entering the camps. Some claimed to have been shot at as they approached. 

By around 8:45 a.m., the Interior Ministry announced that the smaller camp at Nadha Square had been entirely cleared of protesters, CNN said

Police told Al Arabiya they had arrested some 200 protesters and confiscated stashes of weapons and ammunition from their tents. 

Shooting was also reported in northwest Cairo, near Mostafa Mahmoud Square, where Morsi's supporters had vowed to set up a third base if the other two were broken up. 

Egypt's interim leaders have warned for weeks that force would eventually be used to break up the sit-ins.  

Several Muslim Brotherhood leaders were arrested Wednesday, Interior Ministry officials said, in addition to the dozens detained since Morsi's overthrow. Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad urged Egyptians to resist what he called a reinforcement of the military's "coup":

Protests erupted in Alexandria, Aswan, Assiut and elsewhere as details of the crackdown emerged, state-run Ahram Online reported.

There were also reports of arson attacks on Coptic Christian churches in cities in central Egypt. State media and at least one Coptic rights group blamed them on Morsi's supporters.


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