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Egypt's Mursi to authorize army to take on security role

Dec. 8, 2012 10:14 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 9, 2012 7:42 P.M.)
CAIRO (Reuters) -- Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi, facing street protests over his attempts to push through a new constitution, will soon authorize the armed forces to help police keep order, the state-run newspaper al-Ahram reported on Saturday.

The daily said the cabinet had approved a legal measure under which the armed forces would help "maintain security and protect vital state institutions" and would be given powers of arrest, but did not say when it would be issued.

The opposition was still staging protests around Mursi's official palace, where clashes with his Islamist supporters killed seven people and wounded 350 earlier this week.

Egypt's military was the power behind all previous presidents and an army council temporarily took over after a popular revolt toppled Hosni Mubarak last year.

However, Mursi pushed the generals aside in August, two months after he was elected and they have shown no appetite to intervene in the latest crisis in the most populous Arab nation.

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