Overnight clashes between supporters and opponents of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi left at least 23 people dead, most of them in a single incident of fighting outside Cairo University, but many fear much greater bloodshed lies ahead. With a military deadline for a resolution to the country's political crisis looming, the country braced for a showdown today after Morsi insisted he will not step down in the face of demands by millions of protesters.
Fearing that Washington's most important Arab ally would descend into chaos, US officials said they are urging Morsi to take immediate steps to address opposition grievances, telling the protesters to remain peaceful and reminding the army that a coup could have consequences on the massive American military aid package it receives. On the streets, the sense that both sides are ready to fight to the end has sharpened, with Morsi's supporters stepping up warnings that it will take bloodshed to dislodge him. (Read more Egypt stories.)