US Marines in Spain, Italy remain on heightened alert

image By Megan McCloskey

About 500 crisis-response Marines who recently deployed to Italy and Spain are positioned to respond to the brewing chaos in Egypt.

Pentagon spokesman George Little wouldn’t speak about Egypt or the U.S. Embassy in Cairo specifically, but said the military was postured for response in that region in particular.

“We have taken steps to ensure our military is ready to respond to a range of contingencies,” he said.

Egypt is edging towards collapse as protests swell and time runs out on the Egyptian army’s 48-hour ultimatum issued Monday, that President Mohamed Morsi forge a compromise with the opposition or face military intervention. Increasingly violent protesters raging against the democratically elected president and his Muslim Brotherhood-led government have demanded that he step down from office.

The U.S. Embassy in Cairo has been closed since Sunday, according to a notice posted on its website.

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