Security Forces, Morsi Supporters Engage in Deadly Clashes in Egypt

Obama cancels joint military exercise after violence continues to rage in Cairo.

Egyptians mourn over the bodies of their relatives in the El-Iman mosque on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, in Nasr City, Egypt. (Khalil Hamra/AP)

Egyptians mourn over the bodies of their relatives in the El-Iman mosque on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, in Nasr City, Egypt.

By + More

Violence between protesters and police crack-downs continues to boil over in Egypt as worldwide attention turns to reports of a spiking death toll.

Security forces in Cairo clashed with supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, whom the Egyptian military forced from office in early July. Hundreds of people died in the attack and several leaders from Morsi's conservative Muslim Brotherhood party were arrested.

[GALLERY: Deadly Crackdown in Egypt]

The total death has risen over 500 according to the Egyptian Health Ministry, multiple media outlets report. The increased violence caused Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, to resign from office Tuesday.

President Barack Obama said Thursday that the U.S. would cancel its biannual joint military exercise with Egypt. The two countries have enjoyed strong diplomatic relationship, including roughly $1.5 billion in military sales the U.S. offers each year.

Obama said he had also consulted his national security team on other contingencies to help cease the cycle and escalation of violence there, but did not elaborate.

An Egyptian security officer kicks a Morsi supporter as forces cleared a sit-in camp near Cairo University.

Members of the Egyptians Army walk among the smoldering remains of the largest pro-Morsi protest camp.

"Our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual as civilians are being killed in the streets," Obama said from Martha's Vineyard, where he and his family are spending a week's vacation.

Further steps may be necessary with respect to the U.S.-Egypt relationship, he said, adding that America cannot determine the future of Egypt.

[READ: Egyptian VP Resigns Amid Crackdowns]

The U.S. administration has been cautious since July in its classification of the ongoing protests in Egypt, avoiding referring to the military action that ousted Morsi as an official coup d'etat.

 

The president on Thursday offered language in support of the protests that ousted the democratically elected Morsi, whose government Obama said "was not inclusive and did not respect" the beliefs of a majority of Egyptians.

Obama also cautioned against looking for any quick solutions, saying that there would be a potential for "false starts" and difficult days even if the Egyptian government and people decide to return to peaceful reconciliation.

[AP: Obama Cancels Joint Military Exercises in Egypt]

A security officer pulls a fire hose as Egyptian forces attempt to clear a sit-in by Morsi supporters in Cairo.

Army bulldozers remove a barricade erected by Morsi supporters in Cairo.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry echoed White House statements on Wednesday decrying the violence and bloodshed across the country. He said Wednesday afternoon that he had conducted "many phone calls with many Egyptians" and added he believed they "know full well what a constructive process would look like."

"The interim government and the military, which together possess the preponderance of power in this confrontation, have a unique responsibility to prevent further violence and to offer constructive options for an inclusive, peaceful process across the entire political spectrum," he said. "This includes amending the constitution, holding parliamentary and presidential elections, which the interim government itself has called for."

[PHOTOS: Protesters Overthrow Morsi]

"The path towards violence leads only to greater instability, economic disaster, and suffering. The only sustainable path for either side is one towards a political solution," he said.

He said the U.S. is ready to work with all parties in Egypt and in the region to achieve a peaceful and democratic solution.

Street battles have broken out throughout Egypt, including in Giza and Cairo, where police have used helicopters, tear gas and armored bulldozers to enforce curfews and quell the crowds of protesters. Smoke spewed into the skies over Cairo.

Protesters at one point trapped a police Humvee on a bridge outside Nasr City and pushed it off the edge. El Shorouk Newspaper captured the incident in a string of photos.