Egypt Teeters on Brink of Overthrow, 23 Reported Killed in Protests; Update: Coup Now Underway (+video)

Photo Credit: Fox News

Photo Credit: Fox News

Supporters of Egyptian president say military coup is underway

By Richard Engel, Charlene Gubash and Erin McClam. Armored cars, tanks and troops deployed in the Egyptian capital on Wednesday, and advisers said they had lost contact with President Mohammed Morsi in what they described as a military coup.

In a scene reminiscent of the earliest days of the Arab Spring, tens of thousands of Egyptians who had demanded the president’s ouster staged a jubilant celebration in Tahrir Square — dancing, cheering and setting off fireworks.

Earlier in the day, the president and the military each swore to fight to the death for control of the country, and a military deadline for Morsi to step aside came and went with no statement from the president.

“We swear to God to sacrifice with our blood for Egypt and its people against any terrorist, extremist or ignoramus,” the military said in a statement. “Long live Egypt and its proud people.”

The army took control of state television and sent troops to parts of Cairo where crowds sympathetic to Morsi had gathered. Supporters of the president said democracy was being subverted by a military intervention, and the Muslim Brotherhood, which backs Morsi, said some of its leaders had been arrested. Read more from this story HERE.

23 Killed in Protests; Morsi Teeters…

By Fox News. Egypt teetered on the brink of overthrow late Tuesday after a defiant Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi rejected an ultimatum issued by the military and at least 23 people were reported killed in clashes between his supporters and opponents.

Defense officials have pledged to intervene if the government does not address public demands and end the political turmoil engulfing Cairo.

In a speech to the nation broadcast live late Tuesday, Morsi said he would not step down and would protect his “constitutional legitimacy” with his life.

The deadly clashes came just one day before the deadline set by the military for Morsi and his opponents to work out their differences.

The Associated Press reported that at least 23 people were killed in Cairo Tuesday and more than 200 injured, according to hospital and security officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media. Most of the killings took place outside Cairo University located at Cairo’s twin city of Giza. The official Al-Ahram website reported that the armed forces deployed armored vehicles to the area.

Read more from this story HERE.


Egypt’s Leader Vows to Stay

By Reem Abdellatif and Matt Bradley. Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi rejected protesters’ calls for him to step down, telling Egyptians in a late-night address that he is willing to give his life “to protect the legitimacy” of the country’s ballot box and Islamist-drafted constitution.

Without elaborating, he mentioned the possibility of parliamentary elections in six months, part of a list of proposals he said he would consider during talks with the opposition.

Moments later, antigovernment protesters in four provinces across Egypt chanted against the president, calling for him and his Muslim Brotherhood-backed party to leave, according to live footage. Antigovernment protests again swelled on Egypt’s streets, reaching millions, according to local media estimates, just hours ahead of the military’s Wednesday deadline for Mr. Morsi to patch relations with the country’s opposition.

Morsi supporters and antigovernment protesters clashed near Cairo University in the suburb of Giza late Tuesday, leaving at least four people dead, according to the Ministry of Health. The groups traded fire of rubber bullets and pellets in Cairo’s Kit Kat district, according to residents and local media.

The Obama administration has used U.S. diplomatic and military channels to deliver quiet messages and warnings to Mr. Morsi and Egyptian commanders to try to head off the crisis and avert any military coup, according to current and former officials. Read more from this story HERE.


‘All of you infidels will die’: Christians battle radical islamists in deadly Egypt clashes

By Billy Hallowell. The southern Egyptian city of Assiut has long been a haven for radical Islamists, and its Christian minority has largely kept a low profile. That all changed this weekend. These believers, who have been relegated and silenced for so long, have spoken up in the past few days — and with force.

An estimated crowd of 50,000 packed the streets this weekend to join protests calling for President Mohammed Morsi’s ouster, prompting a violent response that left three people dead.

The show of defiance can only be fairly measured in view of the city’s bloody history and the shifts in the local centers of power when Morsi became president a year ago, empowering many of the hard-line Islamist groups around the country, including those in Assiut.

The bloody end of the protest — 32 people were also injured — points to the high risks that Assiut residents, particularly Christians, face if they were to join the wave of opposition to Morsi’s rule that culminated Sunday when millions of Egyptians came out across the country to demand his ouster.

“I, my kids Mariam and Remon and my husband, Nabil, came out because we miss the Egypt we know and we want it back,” Assiut resident Mary Demian said. “These people (militant Muslims) say we are infidels and they terrorize us, but we are not scared. This is our nation and we have always lived with Muslims in peace.” Read more from this story HERE.