Cairo - 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 policy chief 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
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 interviewed by The Associated
Press said it appears many were killed by gunshots to the head and chest.
The incident, which the Brotherhood has described as a
"massacre", came after millions took the streets to show their
support for Defense 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
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 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 neighbourhood located near the main protest site of Morsi's supporters.
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
Fully inclusive transition process
In a bid to try and mediate a solution to the crisis, the
EU's Ashton has planned meeting with both sides Monday, speaking early in the
day with Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy.
Islamists led by the Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails,
staunchly reject the new leadership and insist the only possible solution to
the crisis is to reinstate him. Meanwhile, the interim leadership is pushing
ahead with a fast-track transition plan to return to a democratically elected
government by early next year.
In a statement before arriving to Cairo, Ashton said she is
going to speak to all sides to reinforce that "there must be a fully
inclusive transition process, taking in all political groups, including the
"I will also repeat my call to end all violence. I
deeply deplore the loss of life," she said.
According to the statement from Ashton's office, she will be
meeting with President Adly Mansour, Vice President Mohammed ElBaradei and
The Brotherhood's political wing says four of its member and
Morsi's ex-prime minister Hesham Kandil are holding talks with Ashton as well.
Divisions between pro and anti-Morsi camps have played out
in nearly daily street battles, with a dozen homes catching fire in Cairo late
Sunday. Security officials said that no one was injured when the ousted
president's supporters threw Molotov cocktails from atop a main overpass onto
homes and opponents below.
All officials spoke anonymously because they were not
authorized to speak to the media.