Obama condemns Egypt over violence, cancels joint military exercise

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The Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in Cairo was gutted by fire on Wednesday.
President Obama announced Thursday that the U.S. has canceled an upcoming joint military exercise with Egypt, amid concern over the violent clashes between the military-backed government and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood.
 
Obama said the U.S. "strongly condemns" the actions taken Wednesday by the interim government and security forces and what he called the pursuit of martial law.
 
He said Washington is canceling the joint military exercises known as "Bright Star" because "our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual when civilians are being killed in the streets."
Obama spoke from the resort area of Martha\’s Vineyard, in the eastern U.S. state of Massachusetts, interrupting a week-long vacation with his family to address the spiraling violence.
 
After weeks of warnings, Egypt\’s military moved in Wednesday to clear out long-standing protests in Cairo by supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.  The health ministry said more than 500 people were killed, many of them civilians.
 
The Muslim Brotherhood put the death toll in the thousands.
 
Obama\’s comments follow criticism of Egypt Wednesday from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.  Kerry called the military crackdown "deplorable" and urged all Egyptians "to take a step back… and avoid further loss of life."
 
The United States gives Egypt $1.3 billion in military aid and about $250 million in economic aid each year.
Morsi, Egypt\’s first democratically elected president, was ousted by the military on 3 July.
He is now in custody, charged with murder over a 2011 jailbreak. His period of detention was extended by 30 days on Thursday, state media said.
Source: Agencies

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