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Report: US will withhold most Egyptian military aid

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The United States may be significantly curtailing aid to the Egyptian military, according to multiple reports.

Anonymous officials told Reuters that the United States will withhold most military aid except to promote counter-terrorism and to ensure security in the Sinai Peninsula.

The U.S. currently sends the Egyptian military $1.3 billion annually.

CNN subsequently reported that an anonymous U.S. official said an “accumulation of events” compelled officials to suspend aid several months after a military coup ousted President Mohamed Morsi.

Although the White House denied that all aid would be suspended, a spokeswoman’s statement did not rule out some cuts.

“The reports that we are halting all military assistance to Egypt are false,” said National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden.

“We will announce the future of our assistance relationship with Egypt in the coming days,” Hayden said, noting that President Obama said at the U.N. General Assembly in September that assistance would not end.

Another U.S. official told Reuters that an announcement would be made by the end of the week, but had been repeatedly postponed.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry in Cairo has not yet been notified of any withholding of aid.

Military action against protesters has grown increasingly violent since the military coup. The final decision to end some level of aid to the Egyptian military is said to have been triggered by the dozens of deaths over the weekend.

On Sunday, 53 people were killed when the military confronted Muslim Brotherhood protests in several cities, the deadliest protests since August.

The cut in aid “has been coming for quite a while,” Robin Wright, an Arab affairs analyst at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, told CNN. “The United States has become increasingly disillusioned with the way that the military leadership has cracked down on its own people.”

In August, the previous height of violence, a Pew Research poll found that a majority of Americans supported ending aid to the Egyptian military to pressure the country to restrain violence against protesters.

In late July, the Senate rejected Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul’s amendment cutting off aid to Egypt.

U.S. officials expect the administration to make the decision public by the end of the week.

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