"It's difficult to see a path out of this crisis, at least not without more people dying."
That's how NPR's Cairo bureau chief, Leila Fadel, ended her Morning Edition report Thursday. After Wednesday's deadly crackdown by Egyptian troops on supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi — a crackdown that according to latest estimates left more than 500 people dead and 3,500 or so wounded — the fear is that there will be much more bloodshed.
As Leila reported, members of the Muslim Brotherhood have vowed to continue their protests over Morsi's removal from office by the military and the dismantling of his year-old, democratically elected government.
Meanwhile, the generals and the interim government they installed have declared a monthlong state of emergency. Those who violate night curfews or try to organize new protests and sit-ins could be dealt with harshly. As Leila says, "the lines have hardened in Egypt."
The likelihood that things will get worse in Egypt before they get better is a recurring theme in Thursday morning's news reports:
-- "The violence of the crackdown, which has led to hundreds of casualties, has paved the way for more chaos and instability in Egypt." (Time)
-- "As military makes its move, forget about liberal democracy in Egypt." (The Christian Science Monitor)
-- Egyptians awoke Thursday "to a frightening and uncertain future." (BBC News)
-- "Whether the powerful military can keep a lid on the fury felt by millions of supporters of ousted President Mohamed Mursi, whom it deposed on July 3, is unclear." (Reuters)
-- "Muslim Brotherhood supporters of the deposed president, Mohamed Morsi, urged followers to take to the streets on Thursday. ... The call for renewed demonstrations — threatening further bloody confrontation on the streets — came as an overnight curfew, ignored by some pro-Morsi figures who gathered at a mosque and other places, drew to a close and gave way to a brittle, muted calm in the city." (The New York Times)
Update at 12:10 p.m. ET. Live Ammunition Will Continue To Be Used.
The potential for more bloodshed is underscored by new reports such as this dispatch from Reuters:
"Egyptian security forces will use live ammunition to counter any attacks against themselves or public buildings, state television said on Thursday, quoting the Interior Ministry. The announcement came hours after protesters torched a government building in a Cairo suburb."
Update at 4:00 p.m. ET. Official Death Toll Crosses 600.
Egypt's Health Ministry now puts the number of dead in the crackdown in excess of 600, with nearly 4,000 wounded. The ministry says 288 of those killed were in the largest protest camp at Cairo's Nasr City district and 90 others were at a smaller encampment near Cairo University.