Egypt's military rulers apologized today for the deaths of dozens of pro-democracy protesters and vowed to prosecute those responsible in its latest attempt to appease the tens of thousands who have taken to the streets demanding that the generals immediately step down. Police and protesters also agreed to a truce negotiated by Muslim clerics after five days of fierce street battles that have left nearly 40 dead.
The apology came two days after Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi—head of the military council that assumed control of the country after Hosni Mubarak stepped down—promised to hold a presidential election in the first half of next year but did not offer an apology for the killings. Also today, the military rejected protesters' demands that it immediately step down and said Egyptians must "focus" on parliamentary elections starting next week, suggesting that the vote will go ahead on schedule despite spreading unrest. (Read more Tahrir Square stories.)