Egypt: PM has right to give military arrest powers

View photos
An Egyptian grieves for supporters of Egypt's ousted President Mohammed Morsi, who were killed in overnight clashes with security forces, at a field hospital in Nasr City, Cairo, Saturday, July 27, 2013. Clashes erupted early Saturday in Cairo between security forces and supporters of Morsi, killing scores of protesters and overwhelming field hospitals with the wounded, in an outburst of violence that put the possibility of political reconciliation in the deeply divided nation ever further out of reach. Arabic on headband of man holding the Quran reads, "There is no God but God and Mohammed is his messenger." (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's interim president has given the prime minister the power to grant the military the right to arrest civilians after a weekend of violence between supporters of the country's deposed leader and security forces.

Government officials say the decision could be a prelude to a major crackdown on Mohammed Morsi's supporters or militants who have stepped up attacks against security forces in the Sinai Peninsula.

Adly Mansour's decree was published in the government's official gazette Sunday.

The death toll from clashes between Morsi supporters and security forces has risen to 72. Protesters calling for his reinstatement have vowed to continue a massive sit-in.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.