Including 34 members of the Muslim Brotherhood. “Gangs free militants, foreigners try to flee Egypt,” by Hamza Hendawi And Maggie Michael for Associated Press, January 30:
CAIRO – Gangs of armed men attacked at least four jails across Egypt before dawn Sunday, helping to free hundreds of Muslim militants and thousands of other inmates as police vanished from the streets of Cairo and other cities.
The U.S. Embassy in Cairo told its citizens in Egypt to consider leaving the country as soon as possible, and said it had authorized the voluntary departure of dependents and non-emergency employees, a display of Washington’s escalating concern about the stability of its closest Arab ally….
Egyptian security officials told The Associated Press that army troops were hunting for the escaped prisoners, in some cases with the help of the police. State television also showed footage of what it said was dozens of prisoners recaptured by the army troops, squatting on dirt while soldiers kept watch over them….
President Barack Obama met with security aides Saturday afternoon and issued a plea for government restraint in Egypt, where Washington has long feared increasing influence by Muslim militants.
Egyptian security officials said that overnight armed men fired at guards in gun battles that lasted hours at the four prisons including one northwest of Cairo that held hundreds of militants. The prisoners escaped after starting fires and clashing with guards.
Those who fled included 34 members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest and best organized opposition group. The Muslim Brotherhood’s lawyer, Abdel-Monaem Abdel-Maqsoud, told The Associated Press the 34 were among scores rounded up by authorities ahead of the large anti-government demonstrations on Friday. The escapees included at least seven senior members of the group….