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Egypt Islamists arrested as EU official visits riot-ridden country

Egyptian police have arrested two leaders of an Islamist party, the latest to be swept up in a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies, while the European Union’s foreign policychief was to meet with officials in Cairo on Monday in an attempt to mediate an end to the political deadlock.

Catherine Ashton’s visit to the Egyptian capital is her second this month, a sign of the alarm felt in the West over the continuing bloodshed.

More than 260 people have been killed since the 3 July coup that deposed Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. The bloodiest incident took place over the weekend, with at least 83 of his supporters killed in clashes with police. Human Rights Watch and field doctors said it appears many were killed by gunshots to the head and chest.

Security officials said Monday that a police captain died of wounds sustained from those clashes after being shot in the eye with birdshot from protesters.

The incident, which the Brotherhood has described as a ‘massacre,’ came after millions took the streets to show their support for defence minister General Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. He had called for a mandate of popular support to deal with violence and ‘potential terrorism’ - a thinly veiled reference to expected crackdowns on Morsi supporters who are holding sit-in camps in Cairo. The coup itself also followed days of mass protests by millions of Egyptians demanding that Morsi step down after a year in office as Egypt’s first elected president.

Several Brotherhood leaders and other prominent Islamists have been imprisoned since Morsi’s ouster, with two figures from the Brotherhood-allied Wasat Party arrested and taken to Tora prison late on Sunday.

Security officials said that Abul-Ela Madi and Essam Soltan, who faced arrest warrants on allegations they incited violence, were found hiding in a home in a Cairo neighborhood located near the main protest site of Morsi’s supporters.

The party condemned the arrest of its leaders, saying such measures exacerbate the crisis and adds new obstacles to efforts to build bridges.

Morsi himself has been held incommunicado by the military since his ouster. Last week prosecutors announced they had launched an investigation into the ousted president on charges of murder and conspiring with the Palestinian militant group Hamas to carry out an attack on a prison during the 2011 uprising against Mubarak.

The jailbreak allegedly led to the deaths of inmates and broke Morsi and around 30 other members of the group out of detention.
Agencies

Agencies

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