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

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

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.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs