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US Congress divided on cutting off aid to Egypt

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SummaryDemocratic leaders have generally supported the president’s approach.

Members of Congress are split over whether the US should cut off military aid to Egypt, highlighting the difficult choices facing the Obama administration amid spiraling violence on the streets of an important Middle East ally.

Democratic leaders have generally supported the president’s approach.

But on Sunday, Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison said he would end aid to Egypt. Ellison is the first Muslim elected to Congress. “I would cut off aid but engage in intense diplomacy in Egypt and in the region to try to say, look, we will restore aid when you stop the bloodshed in the street and set up a path towards democracy that you were on before,” Ellison said.

The White House has, till now, refused to declare ousted President Morsi’s removal in early July a coup — a step that would require President Obama to suspend $1.3 billion in annual military aid.

Among Republicans, there were growing calls to eliminate military aid to Egypt. But others were more hesitant.

Congressman Pete King said curtailing aid could reduce US influence over Egypt’s interim government, which controls access to strategic resources, including the Suez Canal.

“We certainly shouldn’t cut off all aid,” said King, who chairs the House panel on counterterrorism and intelligence.

Brotherhood accuses security forces of murder

Cairo: The Muslim Brotherhood, struggling for its existence in Egypt, Monday accused security forces of carrying out “cold-blooded” murder after at least 36 Islamists were killed while they tried to escape from a prison convoy. Initially, the interior ministry said the detainees died in an exchange of fire. But later the ministry said the prisoners died from the effects of inhaling tear gas. REUTERS

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