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Shooting deaths at pro-Morsi sit-in halt negotiations with Egyptian government

The Islamist al-Nour party has suspended negotiations aimed at forming an interim Egyptian government. The announcement came in direct response to early-morning violence that left dozens of pro-Morsi supporters dead.

Clashes on Monday brought talks between the Egyptian military and the ultraconservative al-Nour party to a halt. The Salafist party had supported the armed forces' removal of President Mohammed Morsi last week. However, a deadly shooting at a pro-Morsi demostration swiftly reversed al-Nour's cooperative efforts, according to its spokesperson.

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Scores killed in Egypt shooting

"We have decided to withdraw immediately from all negotiations in response to the massacre outside of the Republican Guard headquarters," al-Nour spokesperson Nader Bakar said on Twitter Monday morning, referring to the barracks where Morsi is thought to be held. Bakar posted a similar statement on Facebook.

Over 40 people, including one army officer, were killed early on Monday when shots were fired outside of the Republican Guard barracks, according to medical officials. Demonstrators calling for the reinstatement of the deposed leader had been staging a sit-in outside of the building.

The Muslim Brotherhood blamed the casualties on Egyptian security forces attempting to disperse the crowd.

Military officials speaking on the condition of anonymity said the violence began when "terrorists" attempted to storm the building. However, they have not confirmed who was responsible for the deaths.

Several people were killed at the same site last week.

The Muslim Brotherhood called for "an uprising" against "those trying to steal their revolution with tanks," according to a statement issued several hours after the clashes.

Prominent liberal leader Mohamed ElBaradei - who had been considered for the post of prime minister over the weekend - called on all sides to remain peaceful.

"Violence begets violence and should be strongly condemned. Independent Investigation [is] a must. Peaceful transition is [the] only way," ElBaradei posted in English on Twitter.

Egyptian authorities' arrest of Muslim Brotherhood leaders and increasing crackdowns on their demonstrations have worsened tensions with the Islamist group since Morsi's ouster.

On Friday, Muslim Brotherhood supreme leader Mohammed Badie called on supporters to hold fast to the streets until Morsi's return to office.

Mass protests across Cairo over the weekend prompted the military to deploy troops throughout the capital city amid fears of violence. An army statement warned against "provocative actions," and said that violations would be "dealt with decisively, under the law."

Egypt awaits new premier

Prior to the bloodshed, Egyptians had expected the announcement of a new interim prime minister on Monday.

The Egyptian military handed power to the head of the country's Supreme Constitutional Court, Adly Mansour, with the promise of forming a transitional government to oversee the country until elections could be held.

Since last week, the interim president's office has attempted to nominate two liberal-minded candidates for prime minister, both of which the al-Nour party rejected.

Transitional President Mansour's office first proposed the appointment of opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei to the prime minister's post. However, the group objected to the Nobel Peace Prize winner and Morsi rival, saying he would have been a divisive premier.

The president's office then proposed appointing the center-left lawyer Ziad Bahaa Eldin and ElBaradei as vice president, according Mansour's media advisor Ahmed al-Muslimani.

Al-Nour reportedly rejected the second nomination due to Eldin's past membership in the National Salvation Front, the main opposition coalition to Morsi.

"Our position is that the prime minister should not belong to a specific faction…We want a technocrat," al-Nour head Younes Makhyoun told the Al-Arabiya television broadcaster.

kms/pfd (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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