Violence struck at the heart of the Middle East this week as hundreds were killed, when Egyptian security forces stormed protest camps erected by supporters of ousted Muslim Brotherhood President Muhammad Mursi in Cairo. With no end in sight to the crisis as Islamists vowed revenge for what they called “a massacre,” the army-backed interim government imposed a state of emergency, drawing condemnation from world powers, including Washington, which cancelled a planned military exercise with Egypt, one of its key Arab allies. Oil prices soared to their highest in four months, amid fears of possible disruption to oil flows through the Suez Canal.

In the Iraqi capital Baghdad, a series of bombings targeted mainly Shi’a Muslims as sectarian fault lines deepened. While in Beirut, a massive car bomb in the city’s Shi’a stronghold killed at least 24 people in what appeared to be a spillover of the civil war in Syria. (CONTINUED - 769 WORDS)