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  1. ITV Report

Will Egypt's bitter violence descend into a civil war?

A boy under a bridge in Rasmes Square, earlier today. At least 60 have died today. Photo: Reuters

As Friday prayers drew to an end, a preacher leading prayers at a Cairo mosque in Ramses square put his hands up to the skies and asked god to save Egypt from slipping into civil war, whilst also wishing for the death of those who killed the Muslim Brotherhood protesters at the Rabaa Al-Adawiya encampment sit-in just two days ago.

Will the violence of August 14 be remembered as the incident that pushed Egypt into a civil war?

In 1975 in Lebanon, a relatively minor incident which saw 27 people killed when their bus was targeted in a sectarian attack is thought to have been the spark that ignited a bloody civil war that lasted more than 15 years.

On Wednesday August 14, Egyptian police supported by the military, moved to break up the protest camp of deposed president Mohamed Morsi. They killed more than 500 people, according to the health ministry, and over 2,000 according to the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Ramses mosque in central Cairo, which acted as a makeshift morgue and hospital today. Credit: RTV

In the two days since that brutal event violent incidents around Egypt are showing no signs of slowing down. Following today's Friday prayers, dozens were killed at protests marching against the bloodshed earlier in the week with both sides accusing the other of using live ammunition.

Protesters remain on the street and the death toll is likely to rise.

The question may be when will it be called a civil war? How many must die and how long could it last?

It took a year and a half before the events in Syria formally described as "uprising" were being called a civil war.

The Muslim Brotherhood will not compromise, because Egypt is the heartland of their global project and they have supporters almost in every Muslim country.

The best Egyptians may be able to hope for now is that this week's bloody events do not push the frustrated Brotherhood in Egypt into an armed struggle.

The wife of a Muslim Brotherhood supporter views the body of her husband, on August 15 Credit: Press Association

Millions of Egyptians took to the streets to call on Morsi to step down on June 30 after the Muslim Brotherhood's failure to run the country economically and politically. But the Brotherhood appear to have become the victims of oppression again, as they were under the former president Hosni Mubarak regime, which allowed them to reap the benefits of the 2011 revolution.

General Abdul Fattah al Sisi, Egypt's defence minister and a hero for many for his role in overthrowing the first elected president, seems likely to continue his crackdown to eliminate the Brotherhood, but by doing so, he might end up pushing them into the terrifying territory of insurgency.

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