Egypt Tense After Bloody Crackdown On Protests

Egypt’s army kept several large squares in Cairo locked down on Sunday after days of bloody confrontations between security forces and supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi.

Security was also beefed up at a key courthouse in the capital after the Muslim Brotherhood, under the banner of an anti-coup alliance, vowed to stage a mass demonstration there in support of Morsi.

On Saturday, Egyptian forces stormed the Fateh Mosque, where members of the Muslim Brotherhood had taken refuge. It was unclear how many people were killed in the action, but more than 800 have been killed nationwide since a widespread crackdown began on Wednesday.

Police on Saturday also arrested the brother of al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahri accusing him of plotting to bring in armed groups to support for anti-government forces. Mohammed al-Zawahri, a Morsi ally, is the leader of the ultraconservative Jihadi Salafi group which espouses al-Qaida’s hard-line ideology, The Associated Press says.

The Egyptian government is also reportedly mulling a ban on the Muslim Brotherhood in an effort to quell the demonstrations.

The AP also reports that in the days since the crackdown began, Islamists have attacked dozens of Coptic churches as well as homes and businesses owned by Christians. The news agency said Sunday that a Franciscan school in the capital was torched and that three nuns had been “sexually harassed and abused as they fought their way through a mob.”

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