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Egypt's Army Chief: Military Will Confront Violence

The head of Egypt's military says the army will not stand by silently in the face of violence after hundreds of people were killed during the country's recent political unrest.

He spoke as an Islamist alliance opposed to the military's ouster of president Mohamed Morsi called off a planned rally in Cairo due to security concerns.

Army Chief General Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi said the army has no intention to seize power and called on Islamists to join the political process. In his first public comments since last week's crackdown against protest camps, he told military and police officers his message to pro-Morsi supporters is that "there is room for everyone in Egypt."

Earlier, Egyptian security forces raided the homes of Muslim Brotherhood members, detaining mid-level officials and field operatives in several cities in an apparent attempt to cripple the group's protest plans.

The Brotherhood, and the broader Anti-Coup Alliance, had said they would hold mass rallies in front of the Supreme Constitutional Court in Cairo and in other cities across Egypt. But an alliance spokeswoman said the Cairo march was cancelled "for security reasons."



Also Sunday, interim foreign minister Nabil Fahmy dismissed international criticism over the government's violent crackdown on opponents, insisting authorities had not abandoned the path to democracy. Fahmy chided Western allies he said have been silent about the "criminal acts" of the protesters and he said he would review all foreign aid to the country.

A heavy security presence was visible outside Cairo's al-Fath mosque early on Sunday, a day after it was stormed by security forces, but the streets were calm. One man complained that Egypt has become increasingly polarized.



"We are all Muslims, we believe in God. What is happening is unnatural, I do not understand these people who want to sacrifice themselves for an Islamic project, I do not understand what this Islamic project is, are we atheist and they are Muslims?"



Meanwhile, the government held an emergency Cabinet meeting Sunday to discuss whether to ban the Muslim Brotherhood, a long-outlawed organization that swept to power in the country's first democratic elections a year ago.

Such a ban - which authorities say would be implemented over the group's use of violence and "terrorism" - would be a repeat of the decades-long power struggle between the state and the former underground movement.

Egypt's state news agency says some 250 Brotherhood supporters are under investigation in relation to the recent turmoil. The Islamist group won five successive votes held in Egypt after President Hosni Mubarak fell in 2011.

Egypt's interim government has accused the Brotherhood of provoking the violence that has killed more than 800 people since Wednesday. The Brotherhood says the death toll is much higher.

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