Egypt: Mubarak to be freed as violence continues
Obama under pressure to respond to army violence as 36 prisoners killed by tear gas
BLOOD continues to be shed in Egypt where 36 Islamist prisoners have become the latest victims of the clashes between the army and supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi.
The prisoners reportedly died as they tried to escape from a van that was transporting them to the Abu Zaabal prison outside Cairo, according to the BBC.
Accounts of the incident vary. The Muslim Brotherhood described the deaths as "cold-blooded killing", while the interior ministry initially claimed the men died after taking an officer hostage during an attack on the vehicle by unidentified gunmen.
The ministry later modified its account of the deaths, revealing the men had died from inhaling tear gas. An unnamed source told Reuters the prisoners had "died from asphyxiation in the back of a crammed police van".
"The murders show the violations and abuses that political detainees who oppose the July 3 coup get subjected to," the Brotherhood said in a statement.
Here is a roundup of other developments:
Egyptian police officers killed: At least 25 police officers have been killed in an attack near the border city of Rafah on the Sinai Peninsula, CNN reports. The men were travelling in two buses when they were attacked. There are conflicting reports about the incident. One source said rocket-propelled grenades were fired at the vehicles; another said four armed men forced the officers to disembark from the buses before shooting them. Northern Sinai is one of the most dangerous places in Egypt thanks to a surge in the number of militants following the fall of Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
Obama under increased pressure: The US president is under intense pressure to bolster the White House's response to the violence in Egypt. Some Democrats have broken ranks to question the president's refusal to stop military aid to Egypt, reports ABC News. A spokeswoman for the National Security Council said funding for Egypt remains "under review".
William Hague says "UK will not take sides": The Foreign Secretary said the conflict in Egypt may last for years and even decades and Britain will not take sides. Speaking ahead of a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels that will "review billions of pounds in foreign aid destined for Egypt", Hague described the situation as "very bleak". Asked on the BBC's Today programme whether Egypt's interim government was legitimate, he would say only that it was a "grey area".
Hosni Mubarak to be released from jail: Egypt's former leader will be freed from jail "in the next 48 hours" after corruption charges against him were dropped, ITV News reports. The former Egyptian president, who was overthrown in an uprising in 2011, still faces a retrial on charges of complicity in the murder of protesters.
Army chief says "room for all in Egypt": Despite the deepening conflict, General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi - the head of Egypt's armed forces - insists supporters of former President Morsi should "help rebuild the democratic path". But al-Sisi warned the military would "not be silent" in the face of violence. ·