UK & World News
Egypt: EU To Review Relations Amid Violence
The European Union has said it will "urgently" review its relations with Egypt in the coming days as the violence shows no sign of ending.
In a statement, the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and the President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso called on all sides to show restraint and prevent further escalation of the violence.
"To this effect, together with its member states, the EU will urgently review in the coming days its relations with Egypt and adopt measures aimed at pursuing these goals," the statement said.
The EU statement comes after security forces stormed the al Fath mosque in Cairo, where hundreds of supporters of Mohamed Morsi fled following violent clashes that killed 173 people.
At one point, troops exchanged gunfire with men shooting from a minaret of the mosque on Ramses Square.
The interior ministry said 385 people inside the mosque had been arrested.
Four Irish citizens, the children of the imam of Dublin's largest mosque, were besieged in the mosque but have since been released.
It is understood the Irish ambassador to Egypt has now requested a meeting with the siblings.
Muslim Brotherhood supporters have also been blamed for attacks on Coptic Christian churches.
And authorities have raided the homes of Brotherhood members in an apparent attempt to disrupt the group ahead of the planned rallies later on Sunday.
A statement by the Anti-Coup Alliance said several marches would take place in the capital, continuing the daily campaign of protests in defiance of an intensifying crackdown.
Earlier, British Foreign Secretary William Hague told his Egyptian counterpart, Nabil Fahmy, that the "disproportionate use of force" by security forces over recent days must stop.
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "The foreign secretary emphasised UK condemnation of all acts of violence, whether disproportionate use of force by the security forces or violent actions by some demonstrators.
"They also discussed the recent attacks on places of worship and the foreign secretary stressed that attacks on mosques and churches were unacceptable and that places of worship must be protected."
Meanwhile, the interim army-backed government announced it had begun deliberations on whether to ban the Muslim Brotherhood, a long-outlawed organisation that swept to power in Egypt's first democratic elections a year ago.
Egyptian presidential adviser Mostafa Hegazy said: "When you talk about a difference or a divide that's happening in Egyptian society, I think it's either wrongful thinking or wishful thinking.
"Egyptians today are more united than ever before. We are not only united towards a common dream, but we're united against a common enemy."