Egypt military deploys across country

Ahram Online, Wednesday 3 Jul 2013

Army statement declares 'Egyptian army belongs to all Egyptians," denies claims that army is attacking Morsi supporters

Military special forces surround supporters of Islamist leader Mohammed Morsi in Nasser City, Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, July 3, 2013 (Photo: AP)

Egypt's Armed Forces is stepping up its presence in the capital and across provincial towns as Egyptians await a planned military statement.

The two-day deadline given by Egypt's army for feuding politicians to forge a power-sharing consensus ended almost three hours ago. Egypt is on edge, waiting to see how the situation will unfold.

Military sources have told Ahram Online that a meeting between leaders of the armed forces and representatives of political, religious and national groups has finished and a statement will be released shortly.

A large number of armoured military vehicles have been positioned around the presidential palace, the Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque, and the iconic Tahrir Square, where rival mass rallies are being staged, a military source told Ahram Arabic news website.

Tens of armoured personnel carriers headed towards Cairo University where thousands of Morsi supporters are rallying to defend  the president's "legitimacy."

The army has also erected barbed wire and barriers around the Presidential Guard barracks where embattled President Morsi is working, eyewitnesses told Reuters.

In the canal city of Suez, twenty armoured vehicles and soldiers carriers have been deployed in the vicinity of a local mosque where Morsi's supporters are rallying.

The number of military helicopters hovering above the city and over the Suez Canal has also soared.

Dozens of armoured personnel carriers have filled streets of the Giza province, Ahram Arabic added.

In an official statement, the army said that such measures are meant to secure the citizenry and denied reports that it was attacking Morsi's supporters, saying "The Egyptian army belongs to all Egyptians" and "The deployments are intended to protect all citizens without bias."

Central Security Forces are also stepping up their presence around Tahrir Square and key state institutions.

In Sinai, Egyptian security forces are on high alert along the borders, Ahram Arabic news website quoted DPA news agency as saying.

Security measures have also been tightened near the tunnels into Gaza and around security installations in the deserted peninsula.

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