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Islamist groups offer proposal for truce with army in Egypt

Egypt's Gamaa Islamiya and Islamic Jihad movements have offered to broker talks between the government and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Rabaa scorchedEnlarge
Plumes of smoke rise from the site of a protest in support of deposed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi during a violent crackdown by Egyptian Security Forces on a pro-Morsi sit-in demonstration at the Rabaa al-Adweya Mosque in the Nasr City district on August 14, 2013 in Cairo, Egypt. (Ed Giles/Getty Images/AFP/Getty Images)

Two of Egypt's former militant groups have offered to broker talks between the military-backed government and the Muslim Brotherhood if the government stops its crackdown on street protests by supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.

Leaders of Egypt's Gamaa Islamiya and Islamic Jihad movements said the Islamists would stop demonstrating if the government backed off its protest crackdown and refrained from defaming the Muslim Brotherhood in mosques and the media.

"We are paving the way for talks," Islamic Jihad leader Abu Samra told the Associated Press. "We can't hold talks while we are at the points of swords in the midst of killings and crackdowns."

Pro-Morsi groups had previously said they would not hold talks with the government until Morsi was restored to power.

Asked if these groups would accept talks without Morsi's reinstatement, Samra told the AP, "Blood is more valuable than the seat of power.”

Nearly a thousand people have been killed and hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood members have been arrested since the Egyptian military forcibly dispersed two pro-Morsi protest camps on Aug. 14.

More from GlobalPost: Eyewitness to the bloodshed: A day of death at Cairo's Rabaa Square

And the arrests continue: On Monday, state-run Middle East News Agency reported the arrests of Muslim Brotherhood member Osama Yaseen, the former youth minister, and the secretary to the Brotherhood’s deputy head, Khairat el-Shater.

Meanwhile, many Cairo residents seem to have embraced the military’s crackdown on the pro-Morsi protests out of a desire for stability, Bloomberg News reported.

“The Egyptian army works for the interest of the nation,” said Amany Hassan, a 45-year-old government employee told Bloomberg News. “They got rid of the Muslim Brotherhood. Egyptians love anyone who protects them.”

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/egypt/130826/egypt-update-two-islamist-groups-offer-truce