Egyptian authorities said Sunday night that protesters encamped in two locations in support of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi had 24 hours to clear out.
Officials speaking anonymously told The Associated Press they are preparing for possible clashes, the news service reported. The government warned last week that the decision to clear the sit-ins was “irreversible.” Morsi’s supporters said they wouldn’t quit the demonstrations until he was reinstated as president.
Observers fear a repeat of the late July slaughter, when at least 120 people were shot dead and thousands injured in a predawn raid on backers of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Earlier, Egyptian helicopters fired on a meeting of suspected militants in the country’s Sinai Peninsula, officials said on Sunday, killing at least 12 people as authorities stepped up their attacks following an Israeli drone strike in the region.
The helicopter attack came as Egyptian and Israeli officials tried to downplay the drone strike on Friday in the largely lawless Sinai, fearing popular criticism in a country already roiled by last month’s military coup.
The Egyptian officials told the Associated Press that three helicopters targeted militants in the desert town of Sheik Zuweyid late on Saturday. The officials said another dozen were wounded in the attack. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to reporters.