Egypt’s presidency mourns protest deaths, denounces ‘terror’

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Egypt’s presidency said Sunday it was “saddened” by the deaths of 72 people at a protest in support of ousted Islamist President Mohammad Mursi, 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.

Egypt’s Health Ministry says at least 72 people were killed when violence erupted at a protest by supporters of Mursi early on Saturday morning.

The demonstrators accused security forces of using live ammunition against unarmed protesters, but the Interior Ministry said its forces had only fired tear gas.

Hegazy said the presidency would “be taking a stance after investigation ends, regardless of whoever is found responsible.”

But he described the protest site in Cairo where the deaths occurred as a “terror-originating spot.”

“There is a wave of terror and we will break this wave,” he said.

The military ended Mursi’s single year of turbulent rule on July 3 after mass demonstrations calling for him to step down.

Egypt’s Interior Minister on Saturday said the pro-Mursi demonstrations would be dispersed soon, but that forces would try to avoid bloodshed.

Hegazy said the government was “exhausting every single channel to find a solution to save blood and save face” for the protesters.