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50 Morsy backers killed; uprising urged

| Monday, July 8, 2013, 9:27 p.m.

CAIRO — Egypt was rocked on Monday by the deadliest day since its Islamist president was toppled by the military, with more than 50 of his supporters killed by security forces as the country's top Muslim cleric raised the specter of civil war.

The military found itself on the defensive because of the bloodshed, but the interim president drove ahead with the army's political plan. He issued a swift timetable for the process of amending the Islamist-backed constitution and set parliamentary and presidential elections for early 2014.

The killings further entrenched the battle lines between supporters and opponents of ousted President Mohamed Morsy, who was removed by the military on July 3 after a year in office following mass demonstrations by millions of Egyptians.

Morsy's Muslim Brotherhood called for an uprising, accusing troops of gunning down protesters, while the military blamed armed Islamists for provoking its forces.

The shootings began during a protest by about 1,000 Islamists outside the Republican Guard headquarters where Morsy, Egypt's first freely elected leader, was detained last week. Demonstrators and members of Morsy's Muslim Brotherhood said troops descended on them and opened fire unprovoked as they finished dawn prayers.

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