Dozens of Muslim Brotherhood prisoners, Egyptian soldiers killed

Posted at 8:23 AM, Aug 19, 2013

CAIRO (CNN) — Nothing — not even hundreds of deaths — has stopped Mohamed Morsy’s supporters from demanding the ousted president be reinstated. And with more protesters saying they would die for their cause, the turmoil could get even uglier this week.

The Muslim Brotherhood has called for continued protests Monday as authorities remain determined to derail their plans.

But a spate of fresh violence is compounding Egypt’s turmoil, including the deaths of 36 Muslim Brotherhood prisoners and an attack that left 25 Egyptian soldiers dead.

Attempted jailbreak

At least 36 jailed members of the Muslim Brotherhood were killed Sunday in what the Interior Ministry called an attempted jailbreak.

The inmates were among a group of more than 600 who were being transferred to a prison north of Cairo, ministry spokesman Hani Abdel Latif said. The inmates had grabbed a senior officer who was checking out “a commotion” in one of the trucks, he said.

“The other officers tried to free him, and in the process, they used tear gas, resulting in 36 detainees killed,” Abdel Latif said.

The captive officer was seriously injured but survived, the ministry said.

The Freedom and Justice Party, the Brotherhood’s political arm, put the number of dead at 52 and demanded an international investigation.

An earlier report by the state-run EGYNews agency said a group of armed men tried to free the prisoners, but Abdel Latif said that report was still being investigated.

Soldiers killed in Sinai

Suspected militants armed with rocket-propelled grenades killed at least 25 Egyptian soldiers in Rafah, state-run Nile TV reported Monday.

Rafah, on the border between Egypt and Gaza, is the site of a key border crossing. In response to the attack, Egypt closed the crossing.

The Sinai Peninsula is a lawless area that was the site of frequent attacks even before Egypt’s latest round of turmoil. In May, seven Egyptian solders were kidnapped and held for six days there, a spokesman for Egypt’s armed forces said.

‘Good news’ coming

An Interior Ministry official issued a cryptic message Sunday night, saying “the Egyptian people will hear good news within 24 hours.”

Gen. Medhat El Minshawi made the comments to Egypt’s ON TV channel, the country’s Shourok news site reported.

El Minshawi also said the Interior Ministry did not fire on any peaceful protesters, “as certified by the medical examiner reports which showed that all of those killed were shot from behind.”

On Wednesday, security forces raided two massive camps in Cairo filled with protesters calling for Morsy’s reinstatement.

But Morsy supporters say Egyptian security forces were the ones that used lethal force against protesters last week.

About 900 people have been killed since Wednesday.

McCain: Cut off aid

It’s time for the United States to cut off its $1.3 billion in aid to Egypt as the military regime cracks down violently on protesters, U.S. Sen. John McCain said Sunday.

The Arizona Republican said the U.S. lost its credibility in the region after failing to follow its own law that requires suspending aid to states overtaken by a military coup — though the U.S. has not officially described the recent regime change in Egypt as a coup.

“We have no credibility. We do have influence, but when you don’t use that influence, then you do not have that influence,” McCain said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Mubarak partially acquitted

Meanwhile, a Cairo criminal court acquitted former President Hosni Mubarak of one of the many cases for which he is detained, Egyptian state TV reported Monday.

The case stemmed from accusations of squandering public money allocated for renovating presidential palaces.

Mubarak ruled Egypt for three decades before throngs of protesters successfully demanded his ouster in 2011. Mubarak was convicted in 2012 in the deaths of numerous protesters, but was later granted a retrial.

Egyptians reveled in the hopes of a democratic future after Mubarak. But in two years, the country’s first democratically elected leader was overthrown in a coup, and the country is no closer to political stability.

CNN’s Matt Smith, Ashley Killough and Ali Younes contributed to this report.