As Egypt continues to melt down, with the death toll from days of unrest nearing 1,000, the longtime strongman overthrown in the nation's bloody 2011 revolt is on the verge of becoming a free man. Hosni Mubarak will be released from jail this week, his lawyer tells Reuters, after Egypt's judiciary nullified a corruption charge against the frail 85-year-old. Pending the dismissal of another corruption charge, Mubarak is free to roam the streets. "He should be freed by the end of the week," says the lawyer; a judicial source says that figure is more like two weeks. Though Mubarak faces a retrial for the killing of protesters in 2011, the AP reports he cannot continue to be held in custody because of a two-year limit pending a final verdict. Elsewhere on the ground:
- Some 25 police officers have been massacred as Islamic militants in the Sinai peninsula—where attacks on security forces have soared since Mohamed Morsi was removed from office last month—ambushed a pair of minibuses carrying the officers and killed them execution-style in broad daylight, the AP reports.
- The Egyptian government says 36 detainees captured in recent days died after clashes with police, Reuters reports. Officials say the detainees, part of a convoy headed to a prison, rioted and captured a police officer. When tear gas was fired into a police van in an attempt to free the officer, the men suffocated. The Muslim Brotherhood says the incident was murder and the death toll was higher than the government admits.
- As European Union leaders met to discuss the crisis—and consider halting aid to Egypt—Britain's foreign minister gave a bleak assessment. It will take "years, maybe decades" for the trouble to "play itself out," and there is only a limited amount Western powers can do, William Hague says. "We have to do our best to support democratic institutions" without picking sides, he tells the BBC.