The Egyptian authorities have put a plan in motion to break up sit-ins held by supporters of ousted President Mohamed Mursi in Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya, reported Asharq al-Awsat.
According to "exclusive information" obtained by the pan-Arab newspaper, the leaks came as international efforts to defuse Egypt's current crisis have hit a wall.
Asharq al-Awsat said that Egypt's interim leaders will begin to put the plan into effect in the next 48 hours. The plan will be carried out "gradually" in an effort to keep casualties to a minimum, it said.
The newspaper added that it is feared that levels of violence will increase if authorities attempt to diffuse pro-Mursi protestors from Rabaa al-Adawiya, which several "wanted" Brotherhood figures are among those conducting the Cairo sit-in.
Egypt's interim leaders are reportedly divided in terms of strategy. Egyptian Army General Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi is among those leaning towards adopting a confrontational strategy while President Adly Mansour and his deputy, Mohamed el-Baradei are encouraging a more pacifist approach.
“Breaking up the rallies by force will cause approximately 3,000 to 5,000 deaths,” Asharq al- Awsat's source announced, adding “this large number of casualties will put us in an awkward position, and we do not want to have economic problems with the world.”
The plan consists of “blocking food supplies to protesters, as well as cutting off water and electricity in the square where the protesters are,” the source explained.
Keeping aware of possible consequences of the plan on the residents in the nearby-area, the source said: “When carrying out the plan, there will be safe corridors set out in cooperation with human rights organizations to allow civilians free movement."
Two earlier attempts to clear the Raba'a al-Adawiya mosque site have failed, reported English newspaper the Guardian. Since then pro-Mursi crowds have flocked to the two sites twice clashing with security forces, resulting in an estimated 300 deaths. The vast majority of casualties have been among the demonstrators.
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