Egypt Cracks Down as Violence Escalates
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Egypt Cracks Down as Violence Escalates

CAIRO - Bloody attacks on anti-government demonstrators in Tahrir Square continued for a second day Thursday, and a chorus of international condemnation grew louder as dozens of foreign journalists and human rights workers were arrested.

U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley called the arrests part of a "concerted campaign to intimidate" foreign press. "We condemn such actions," Crowley said in a tweet.

Egypt's information ministry said journalists had been rounded up across the capital, but said they did not know by whom, or where the reporters were being held.

Those detained were believed to include Washington Post Cairo bureau chief Leila Fadel and Post photographer Linda Davidson. The New York Times said two of its reporters were held overnight but had been released, and Al Jazeera said three of its journalists were detained and a fourth was missing.

Human Rights Watch said one of its staffers, American former journalist Dan Williams, was among several rights workers taken into custody when police and army personnel raided the Hisham Mubarak Law Center.

A total of eight people have been killed in violence over the last two days, Egypt's Health ministry said. Hundreds have been injured. Doctors working with the anti-government protesters said five of the dead were shot in Tahrir Square before dawn Thursday by loyalists of President Hosni Mubarak.

"They were killing our people," said Arafat Hussein, 25, a worker at the Ministry of Health who said he saw pro-Mubarak forces fatally shoot two of his friends--one in the head, the other in the heart.

Sporadic clashes continued through the day, though for the most part the pro- and anti-government groups kept their distance from each other, often on opposite sides of a line of military vehicles or personnel.

With rights groups and key allies condemning Wednesday's attacks on protesters, Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq apologized on state television and said he wanted to initiate dialogue with anti-government groups.

"I offer my apology for everything that happened yesterday because it's neither logical nor rational," Shafiq said.

Read more at The Washington Post.