Muslim Brotherhood faces ban in Egypt, death toll crosses 800


Cairo, Aug 18 (PTI): Egypt’s military-backed government is considering banning the hardline Muslim Brotherhood whose supporters are demanding reinstatement of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, even as the army today vowed “not to stand silently” in the face of over 800 deaths in street battles.

Interim Prime Minister Hazem Beblawi has put forward a proposal to legally dissolve the Brotherhood.

“There will be no reconciliation with those whose hands have been stained with blood and who turned weapons against the state and its institutions,” Beblawi told reporters.

His proposal to dissolve the Brotherhood raises the stakes in the struggle for the control of Egypt. If it is acted upon, it could force the group underground and allow its sources of funding to be targeted.

Despite being closely allied to deposed President Morsi’s government, the Brotherhood has always been a banned organisation, dissolved in 1954 by Egypt’s military rulers.

But it recently registered itself as a non-governmental organisation.

Meanwhile, Army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi warned that the forces will never be silent in the face of violence.

“Whoever imagines violence will make the state and Egyptians kneel must reconsider; we will never be silent in the face of the destruction of the country,” said al-Sisi.

Al-Sisi, the general behind the “military coup” that toppled Morsi on July 3, made the statement during a meeting with military and police commanders.

He also said that the Army had no intention to seize power and even called for inclusion of Islamists.

Also today, the ‘Anti-Coup Coalition’ today called off rallies that they had planned to stage in Cairo, citing security concerns.

“Several marches in Cairo have been cancelled for security reasons,” Yasmine Adel, the group’s spokeswoman said.

She added that some marches were taking place.

Security had been beefed up at a key points ahead of planned mass rallies by pro-Morsi supporters with armoured vehicles and troops being deployed in southern Cairo.

Since Wednesday, over 800 people have died in clashes that erupted after security forces stormed two camps set up by Morsi loyalists in Cairo.

In a related development, Former Egyptian interim vice-president Mohamed ElBaradei has boarded a flight to Austria after his resignation was accepted by Egypt’s interim president Adly Mansour, the state-run EGYnews site said today.

The country’s cabinet was in the process of analysing the crisis and deciding upon a course of action that erupted after military’s ouster of Morsi.

Egypt’s interim government has also implored the global community to listen to its side after days of deadly violence.

Members of the foreign ministry showed a video-and-photo montage today of the recent carnage, blaming terrorists for the chaos.

Egypt’s security forces cleared the al-Fateh mosque in Cairo yesterday after a long stand-off with Brotherhood supporters holed up inside.

Security forces dragged protesters from the mosque, passing through angry crowds who called them “terrorists” and tried to beat them.

About 250 protesters were being investigated for murder, attempted murder and so-called “terrorism”, media reports said.

The interior ministry said 1,004 Muslim Brotherhood members had been detained in raids across the country, with bombs, weapons and ammunition seized.

The Brotherhood was quoted as saying sons and daughters of leadership figures had been targeted in an attempt to gain leverage over the organisation.

Brotherhood chief Mohamed Badie’s son Ammar Badie was among dozens shot dead Cairo on Friday.

Authorities also arrested the brother of al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, a security official said yesterday.

Mohammed al-Zawahiri, leader of the ultraconservative Jihadi Salafist group, was detained at a checkpoint in Giza.


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