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Egypt's Mansour Retracts ElBaradei Claims

Mohamed ElBaradei, former head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog and Nobel laureate, Cairo, Jan. 2012 file photo.
Mohamed ElBaradei, former head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog and Nobel laureate, Cairo, Jan. 2012 file photo.
Egypt's new president appears to be backing away from an announcement that pro-reform leader Mohamed ElBaradei would be made interim prime minister.

A spokesman for interim President Adly Mansour told reporters on Saturday that consultations were continuing, denying that the appointment of the Nobel Peace laureate was ever certain.

He mentioned no other candidates but said there was no set date for the appointment of interim prime minister.

Earlier Saturday, opposition officials said ElBaradei was summoned by Mansour and would be sworn in later in the day as interim prime minister.

Already, a senior Muslim Brotherhood spokesman has told Reuters the group rejects ElBaradei's appointment as prime minister and Brotherhood supporters have vowed to continue their protests until former president Mohamed Morsi — Egypt's first democratically elected president — is returned to power.

Egypt's military arrested Morsi and other leaders of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Wednesday, saying the actions were necessary to prevent a mass uprising. Clashes between Morsi's supporters and opponents erupted Friday in Cairo and across the country, leaving 36 people dead and more than 1,000 people injured.

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In Washington, President Barack Obama expressed concern over the country's continuing political polarization. He reiterated that the United States is not aligned with, and does not support, any particular Egyptian political party or group.

Muslim Brotherhood supporters have been continuing their massive sit-in protest in Cairo's Nasr City, thousands turning out on Saturday to call for Morsi's return.

Many also gathered at the Salaheddine Mosque to mourn five Morsi supporters killed in Friday's violence. Ibrahim Abdeen was one of them.

"These martyrs were killed because the government, the army and the police were careless in protecting their people," said Abdeen. "They were late in saving them, it took more than two hours to respond. They were waiting for the clashes to happen between the Muslim Brotherhood, Abu Ismail group, those who are against Egypt and the people."

Mansour meets with Army chief

The interim president, jurist Adly Mansour, met at the presidential palace Saturday with the country's army chief, General Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, and the interior minister, who heads the national police. The Associated Press reports Mansour also met with leaders of the Tamrod youth movement, which has been organizing anti-Morsi rallies.

Meanwhile, a new group that emerged Friday says it will take violent action if necessary to win the ousted president's reinstatement.

The previously unknown group, Ansar al-Shariah, announced its formation with a lengthy statement declaring it does not support "democratic legitimacy" — the Muslim Brotherhood's contention that Morsi was freely elected and should remain in office. It said establishment of Islamic sharia law in Egypt is its primary goal.

Fears of increased sectarian violence rose again Saturday after the killing of a Coptic priest in the northern Sinai. Egyptian security officials said gunmen dragged the priest from his car and shot him repeatedly.

Officials also reported attacks by Islamist militants at several security checkpoints in the region.

After arresting Morsi on Wednesday, the military suspended the constitution and ordered new elections. The army says its action was prompted by the risk of a mass uprising against Morsi's policies and leadership. Opponents accused the nation's first democratically elected president of betraying the 2011 revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

The military and Egypt's former opposition groups have called for reconciliation as the military moves forward with its so-called road map to restore democratic civilian rule. As the violence raged Friday, the United States and the United Nations urged Egyptians to reach a peaceful end to the crisis and avoid violence.
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