Obama Cancels Joint Military Operation in Egypt after Violence Leaves 525 Dead

Mike O'Brien

President Obama announced on Thursday that joint military exercises with Egypt which were scheduled for next month have been canceled.

He condemned Egypt’s interim government and said the move was in protest over violent clashes that have left at least 525 dead.

Speaking at his vacation home on the Massachusetts island of Martha's Vineyard, the President said: "We deplore violence against civilians. We support universal rights essential to human dignity, including the right to peaceful protest.

"The United States strongly condemns the steps that have been taken by Egypt's interim government and security forces. "The cycle of violence needs to stop,"

He also called on Egypt’s army-backed interim government to cancel the month-long state of emergency it imposed after Wednesday's violence.

Mr. Obama said Operation Bright Star, a joint biennial military exercise that had been due to take place in the Sinai region, would not go ahead.

The cancelation follows the decision last month to halt a planned delivery of F-16 fighter jets.

On Wednesday security forces in Cairo backed by bulldozers cleared two sit-in camps that were set up to protest the Egyptian military's removal of the country's democratically elected leader.

The death toll hit 525, including three journalists covering the story, with 3,572 others injured. Some activists said the true death toll was much higher, NBC News reports.