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Egypt bristles as US pols urge freeing prisoners

Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham termed the events of July 3 a “coup,’’ a word the White House avoided.
Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham termed the events of July 3 a “coup,’’ a word the White House avoided. Asmaa Waguih/Reuters

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CAIRO — Two US senators came to Egypt Tuesday with a message for the country’s new military-backed leaders: Release Islamist figures as a gesture to the Muslim Brotherhood or risk making ‘‘a huge mistake.’’

The message from Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham met with a sharp response, denounced by interim President Adly Mansour in a brief statement as ‘‘unacceptable interference in internal politics.’’

The new leadership, emboldened by mass demonstrations of support, showed no sign of willingness to release Muslim Brotherhood figures whom McCain called ‘‘political prisoners’’ and whom the government plans to prosecute for allegedly inciting violence.

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