Morsi gone — what next for Egypt?

Opponents of Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi protesting in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Wednesday (Photo: AP)

Opponents of Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi protesting in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Wednesday (Photo: AP)

The Israeli military does not believe that the coup against Mohamed Morsi will significantly change relations with Israel.

Under the former president, Egypt had a good record of fighting terrorism and had closed many of the tunnels into Gaza. It is expected that will continue with the military now in charge.

Only hours before the coup on Wednesday night, Mr Morsi had been insisting he would be staying on as president and invited all parties to join in a national unity government. But his options had run out.

Muslim Brotherhood officials claimed the president was working from a Presidential Guard barracks on the outskirts of the city. Gradually it emerged that he was being held there virtually, if not officially, as a prisoner and that communication with him had been severed.

Meanwhile, army helicopters hovered over the city and an elite military unit encircled the state television building on the Nile Corniche while officers took over the studios, allowing the continuation of broadcasts but preparing the airwaves for a statement from the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

Muslim Brotherhood loyalists gathered in other parts of the city, exhorting the generals not to takeover in a military coup.

But by then it was clear that Egypt’s first experiment in democracy had ended in what looked very much like a military coup.

Finally it fell to the defence minister, but more significantly, the commander-in-chief of the army, to announce that the new constitution had been suspended, and an interim government was taking over.

While Mr Morsi had failed to unite the nation he was elected to lead, the Muslim Brotherhood will not relinquish power easily.

As night descended on Cairo, it was unclear who would be governing the country the next morning.

Last updated: 12:45pm, July 4 2013