As thousands of supporters of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood stood their ground in Cairo
on Sunday, the movement's Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie accused Defense Minister Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of "committing massacres the likes of which we have only seen committed by the bitter Zionist enemies and their treacherous agents."
Badie further added that "Zionist fingers are at play in countries of the Arab Spring, so as to fulfill the vision of the Great Israel."
The Muslim Brotherhood representative added that Sisi was worse than the Pharaoh who killed children of believers and let women live, as Sisi and his soldiers, Badie stressed "are worse; you kill everybody."
Badie added that the current regime twisted the truth in such a manner that communication with Gaza is considered a crime while communication with the 'Zionist enemy' is considered an honor.
Mohammed Badie (Photo: AFP)
Egypt's emergency service said 80 people were killed in Saturday's violence at a Cairo vigil by backers of deposed President Mohamed Morsi,
triggering global anxiety that the Arab world's most populous country risked plunging into the abyss.
An Egyptian Health Ministry official says the death toll in weekend clashes between security forces and supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi has risen to 80, as opposed to the 72 originally reported.
Khaled el-Khateeb, the head of the ministry's emergency and intensive care department, provided the new tally Sunday. An official at Cairo's main morgue, however, put the toll at 83 after 11 bodies arrived at the facility Sunday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the press.
Saturday's killings took place the day after mass rallies called by military chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who said he wanted public backing for a crackdown on "terrorism".
Egypt's presidency said Sunday it was "saddened" by the deaths, but linked the bloodshed to "terrorism".
"We are saddened by the spilling of blood on the 27th," Mostafa Hegazy, an adviser to army-backed interim president Adly Mansour, told reporters. But, "we cannot decouple this (incident) from the context of terrorism," he added.
The Brotherhood saw the demonstrations as an attempt to justify an imminent onslaught against itself.
Morsi's Brotherhood, which won repeated elections after the fall of autocrat Hosni Mubarak
in 2011, accuses the military of reversing the uprising that brought democracy to Egypt
and demands his reinstatement.
"They will not be content until they bring back everything from the era of the corrupt, murderous security and intelligence state," senior Brotherhood official Essam el-Erian said on Facebook. "They've stepped up their efforts to do so by committing massacres never before seen in Egyptian history."
The Interior Ministry has rejected eyewitness accounts that police opened fire on the crowds and a public prosecutor has launched a probe into the violence, investigating 72 suspects for an array of crimes including murder and blocking streets.
Morsi supporters in Cairo (Photo: Reuters)
Although Cairo was quiet on Sunday, violent clashes rattled the Suez Canal
city of Port Said, with a 17-year-old youth killed in fighting between the pro- and anti-Morsi camps and a further 29 people injured, security sources said.
The violence has deeply polarized Egypt, with its secular and liberal elite so far showing little sympathy for the Brotherhood or reservations about the return to power of a military which ruled for 60 years before the 2011 uprising.
However, in one of the first signs of doubt from within the interim cabinet installed after the military takeover, Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Ziad Bahaa El-Din said the government must not copy the "oppressive" policies of its foes.
"Our position must remain fixed on the need to provide legal guarantees not only for the members of the Brotherhood, but for every Egyptian citizen. Excessive force is not permitted," El-Din wrote on Facebook.
On Sunday morning army vehicles still surrounded entrances to the square in northeast Cairo where thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters have camped out for a month.
Reuters and AFP contributed to this report
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