U.S. Marines in Spain and Italy are poised for rapid deployment to Egypt after a military coup Wednesday toppled the presidency of Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Having learned from the terrorist attack in Benghazi, the U.S. sent approximately 500 Marines with the Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response team to bases in Moron, Spain and Sigonella, Italy.
These “crisis-response Marines” are ready to respond to help American citizens caught up in the chaos in Egypt, Stars and Stripes reported.
Only a year since winning election after the ousting of Hosni Mubarak, Morsi is reportedly under house arrest, and arrest warrants have been issued for 300 members of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood presidential team, Sky News reported.
After both Morsi and the Egyptian military vowed a fight to the death Tuesday, and the military deadline for Morsi to step down expired, the military stepped in on Wednesday and ousted Morsi and temporarily suspended the Egyptian constitution.
Egypt’s top general appointed “Adli Mansour, the head of the supreme constitutional court, as interim head of state,” Sky News said.
Mansour was officially sworn in Thursday in a televised broadcast, Fox News reported early Thursday morning.
President Obama issued a statement on Wednesday saying he was “deeply concerned” with the ousting of Morsi, and urged the military to return Egypt to a “democratically elected civilian government as soon as possible.”
Obama also called for a “review” of the $1.6 billion in aid the U.S. gives to Egypt.
The statement published on the White House website read, in part:
The United States is monitoring the very fluid situation in Egypt, and we believe that ultimately the future of Egypt can only be determined by the Egyptian people. Nevertheless, we are deeply concerned by the decision of the Egyptian Armed Forces to remove President Morsy and suspend the Egyptian constitution. I now call on the Egyptian military to move quickly and responsibly to return full authority back to a democratically elected civilian government as soon as possible through an inclusive and transparent process, and to avoid any arbitrary arrests of President Morsy and his supporters. Given today’s developments, I have also directed the relevant departments and agencies to review the implications under U.S. law for our assistance to the Government of Egypt.
No transition to democracy comes without difficulty, but in the end it must stay true to the will of the people. An honest, capable and representative government is what ordinary Egyptians seek and what they deserve. The longstanding partnership between the United States and Egypt is based on shared interests and values, and we will continue to work with the Egyptian people to ensure that Egypt’s transition to democracy succeeds.
More from Sky News.