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Syria and Egypt Update Apr 8

By: AP
By: AP

BEIRUT (AP) -- The U.S. is warning Syria it won't be able to deceive the world about compliance with a cease-fire that is just days away.
The warning from Ambassador Robert Ford came as regime forces pounded more opposition strongholds in an apparent rush to crush resistance before troops must withdraw. Activists said more than 100 people were killed, including at least 87 civilians.
The activists say almost half died in a Syrian army raid on one central village (al-Latamneh).
Syrian President Bashar Assad (bah-SHAR' AH'-sahd) accepted a cease-fire agreement brokered by international envoy Kofi Annan (KOH'-fee AN'-nan) that's meant to pave the way for negotiations between the government and the opposition over Syria's political future.
However, the U.S. ambassador has posted online satellite images that he says cast doubt on the regime's readiness to pull out. He says the Syrian government must give U.N. monitors access to confirm its compliance.

BEIRUT (AP) -- Syrian opposition groups say government shelling and firefights between troops and army defectors have killed at least 24 in a village in central Syria.
The Local Coordination Committees activist network said the violence took place Saturday in the village of al-Latamneh in the suburbs of the restive city of Hama.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the number of deaths at 27. It said most were killed by shells fired as troops tried to storm al-Latamneh following clashes with defectors there over the past two days.
Syrian forces have launched offensives across the country as a cease-fire deadline brokered by international envoy Kofi Annan nears.

Egypt's Brotherhood picks alternate candidate
CAIRO (AP) -- Egypt's most powerful political group, the Muslim Brotherhood, says it is nominating the head of its party as a back-up candidate for president in the face of attempts to disqualify their primary nominee.
In a statement released late Saturday by the Brotherhood, the group said they are putting forth party leader Mohammed Morsi as an alternate to Khairat el-Shater, the party's chief strategist and financier.
El-Shater was released from prison last month after serving five years on charges relating to his membership in the then-outlawed Brotherhood under the regime of ousted President Hosni Mubarak.
The Brotherhood statement says el-Shater faces no legal obstacles to running for president, but they will file an application for Morsi as a second option due to "attempts by some to create barriers" for certain candidates.

Egypt: Islamist group names cleric for president
CAIRO (AP) -- An ultraconservative Islamist party in Egypt has put forward a leading Muslim cleric recently banned from entering France as its presidential candidate.
The Gamaa Islamiya, or Islamic Group, said Saturday that it has chosen Safwat Hegazy, a prominent imam who took part in last year's protests that toppled President Hosni Mubarak.
France barred Hegazy last month from entering the country along with a number of other high-profile Muslim clerics on the grounds that they "call for hatred and violence."
A leading Gamaa Islamiya sheik, Abdel-Akher Hamad, said Hegazy was chosen because he is a well known Islamist and supports the application of Islamic law.
The Gamaa Islamiya was a militant organization that fought Mubarak's regime in the 1990s, seeking to establish an Islamic state. It has since renounced violence.


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