News / Middle East

Egyptian Army Issues Ultimatum

In this photo released by the Egyptian Presidency, July 1, 2013, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, right, meets with Prime Minister Hesham Kandil, center, and Egyptian Minister of Defense, Lt. Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, left in Cairo.
In this photo released by the Egyptian Presidency, July 1, 2013, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, right, meets with Prime Minister Hesham Kandil, center, and Egyptian Minister of Defense, Lt. Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, left in Cairo.
VOA News
The Egyptian military is giving President Mohamed Morsi and opposition leaders 48 hours to settle their differences and agree on a path forward. If they don’t, according to the military, it will issue its own plan for Egypt’s future.

The ultimatum was delivered Monday by Defense Minister General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi after several days of massive nationwide protests and violence that has left at least 16 people dead.

Al-Sisi’s warning came after anti-Morsi protesters ransacked the Cairo headquarters of the president’s Muslim Brotherhood movement.  

Witnesses said the protesters smashed windows and tossed firebombs into the Brotherhood building. Amateur video showed Brotherhood supporters on the roof of the building firing at protesters below. Officials said at least five people were killed.

Watch: related video footage

Egyptian Protesters Ransack Muslim Brotherhood Officesi
July 01, 2013 1:10 PM
Protesters in Egypt have stormed and ransacked the Cairo headquarters of President Mohamed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood.

Brotherhood spokesman Gehad el Haddad accused Egypt's national police force of not responding to pleas to intervene when the group’s headquarters building came under attack. Haddad also warned that the Brotherhood would consider setting up an armed militia to defend its party offices.

The military’s ultimatum also came after anti-government demonstrations throughout Egypt on Sunday that were the largest since the 2011 revolution that swept former president Hosni Mubarak from power.  Arabic-language media quoted the Interior Ministry saying the crowds in Cairo and other cities across Egypt totaled as many as 3 million people.

The demonstrations were organized in part by the recently-formed opposition "Tamarrod" movement, which is demanding that Morsi step down by Tuesday. Morsi told Britain's Guardian newspaper Sunday that he was legitimately elected and would not resign.

Veteran opposition editor and publisher Hisham Kassem says Morsi is finding himself increasingly isolated as most branches of the government have deserted him.
"While [former President] Mubarak had all the forces, all the pillars of the state at least neutral, if not supporting him, Morsi has nothing," Kassem said. "He doesn't have the foreign office; he doesn't have the judiciary; he doesn't have the military, the police force, or the media."

Kassem also pointed out that the Egyptian national police force, which had been widely discredited for siding with the Mubarak regime against protesters in 2011, has suddenly gained new favor with the public, "by siding with the people, this time around."

Egyptian police officers chanted slogans against Morsi at the funeral for a top commander killed in an attack in the Sinai, last week. Several officers recently accused the Muslim Brotherhood of colluding with militants in the Sinai.

Edward Yeranian in Cairo also contributed to this report

  • A protester, opposing Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi, sits next to graffiti depicting Morsi on a wall in Cairo July 2, 2013.
  • Supporters of Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi march in formation with sticks and protective gear outside of the Rabia el-Adawiya mosque near the presidential palace, July 2, 2013.
  • Protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi shout slogans and flash laser lights during a demonstration in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, July 2, 2013.
  • Sayed Saafan, 57, right, an Egyptian supporter of Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, holds a stick and wears protective gear during training outside of the Rabia el-Adawiya mosque near the presidential palace, July 2, 2013.
  • Egyptian supporters of Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi read newspapers under his poster at their camp outside of the Rabia el-Adawiya mosque near the presidential palace, July 2, 2013.
  • Opponents of Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi guard the entrance of the presidential palace, July 2, 2013.
  • Supporters of Egypt's Islamist President Mohamed Morsi attend a rally in Nasser City, Cairo, Egypt, July 1, 2013.
  • A protester holds an Egyptian national flag as he and others attack the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in the Muqattam district in Cairo, July 1, 2013.
  • A protester waves a flag as Egyptians gather in Tahrir Square during a demonstration against President Mohamed Morsi in Cairo, June 30, 2013.
  • A looter gestures as part of an air-conditioning is thrown down from the Muslim Brotherhood's headquarters after it was burned down by protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi in Cairo's Moqattam district, July 1, 2013.
  • A protester opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi wears a defaced poster of Morsi as a mask in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, June 30, 2013.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: DORAI RAJ L from: Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.
July 01, 2013 9:53 PM
I think, Cleopatra should return to solve this issue.

by: JR from: Brasil
July 01, 2013 2:55 PM
That's a so core problem that we can say nothing at all. The egyptcians have to find their own ways by themselves, that's all.

by: Michael from: USA
July 01, 2013 7:27 AM
Morsi might be too late to change his policy. What policy? The policy of the past months. The protestors object to that policy, but they are not simply calling for a change in policy. Anyhow, policy would not be followed under any plea to do so

by: ali baba from: new york
July 01, 2013 5:36 AM
Egypt is dead It is dead since Mubarak leave the power. The economy is reach to point of no return .Muslim brotherhood and radical Hamas started revolution that drag the country downhill .Tthe time to fix the problem is over, the damage is beyond repair. united state policy maker has done terrible mistake to support Muslim brotherhood and giving them 1.5 billion of military equipment which will be in the wrong hand of terrorist Islam is not the solution..Islam is prescription of disaster
In Response

by: Mark Marky from: Brasil
July 01, 2013 10:14 PM
Egypt was much better off under the former dictator than it will ever be under islamic extremists like the "brotherhood," who are totalitarian, murderous, hateful, and violent persecutors of anyone who dares to be different or diagree with them. Pity the poor Copts! The same will be true of Syria where the "rebels" are killing Christians and minorities. Wherever islam holds sway there is total disregard for human rights.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs