Egypt: As Calm Returns, Army Chief Warns Protesters

Small signs of normal life returned to Cairo Sunday, with traffic flowing and some stores and banks reopening, but Egypt’s army chief warned that the city could blow up again at any time.

General Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi said police will not stand by and silently watch the country be destroyed. He threatened to use force against attacks on government buildings and police stations by anti-governemt protesters.

But Sisi said the army has no intention of seizing power. He also called on Islamic supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi to join the political process, saying “there is room for everyone.”

Morsi supporters marched toward the Supreme Constitutional Court in Cairo, but they canceled two other protest marches scheduled for Sunday. They claim snipers were planted along the streets.

Also Sunday, state-run television reported that guards killed 36 members of the pro-Morsi Muslim Brotherhood during an attempted prison break in northern Cairo.

The New York Times and Washington Post newspapers reported that U.S., European and Arab diplomats were close to a deal between the Brotherhood and Egypt’s interim government that could have prevented last week’s bloodbath when police destroyed two Cairo protest camps. The newspapers said Egyptian military leaders rejected the compromise.

The official death toll from Wednesday’s raids exceeds 800, while the Brotherhood puts it in the thousands.

The interim government held an emergency Cabinet meeting Sunday to discuss whether to ban the Brotherhood, a long-outlawed organization that swept to power in the country’s first democratic elections last year.

Women activists of Islamic political party Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) hold pictures of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi during a pro-Morsi rally in Islamabad on August 18, 2013.

Egyptian residents in Japan and their supporters stage a rally in front of the Egyptian embassy in Tokyo to protest the killing of hundreds of anti-government demonstrators, August 18, 2013.

Egyptian residents in Japan and their supporters stage a rally in front of the Egyptian embassy in Tokyo to protest police and army crackdown on demonstrators in Egypt, Aug. 18, 2013.

Egyptians security forces escort a protester out of the al-Fatah mosque and through angry crowds following a day of fierce street battles that left scores of people dead, near Ramses Square in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Aug. 17, 2013.

A protester displays a banner during a rally in front of the Egyptian embassy in Tokyo on August 18, 2013.

Malaysian Muslims offer special prayers called “Qunut Nazilah” during a rally to oppose the military overthrow of Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi and subsequent killings, in Kuala Lumpur on August 17, 2013.

A girl looks from a car window with a ‘wanted’ poster of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (R), the army chief who ousted Egypt’s president Mohamed Morsi (L poster), as she joins a a rally against the crackdown on protesters in Egypt in central London on August 17, 20

Demonstrators supporting Egypt’s ousted president Mohamed Morsi fly Egyptian flags from their car windows during a rally against the crackdown on protesters in Egypt in central London on August 17, 2013.

Women activists of Islamic political party Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) hold pictures of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi during a pro-Morsi rally in Islamabad on August 18, 2013.

Traders work at the Egyptian stock exchange in Cairo August 18, 2013.

Supporters of Egypt’s ousted President Mohamed Morsi chant slogans during a protest in Ramses Square in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Aug. 16, 2013.

Protesters hold signs during a demonstration condemning the recent deadly military crackdown on supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in Cairo on August 17, 2013, at the New Mosque in Istanbul.

An Egyptian protester reacts as a supporter of ousted President Mohamed Morsi falls after being shot while standing in front of Egyptian Army tanks during a protest in Ismailiya, Egypt, Aug. 16, 2013.

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