Nightly News   |  July 04, 2013

Egyptian crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood underway

The military has arrested several key members of the Muslim Brotherhood after removing Islamist President Mohammed Morsi from power. NBC’s Richard Engel reports.

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>>> own. crowds in cairo, cheering the outsted of mohamed morsi, the potential for violence looms as the muslim brotherhood calls for protests tomorrow. richard engel back in tahrir square with the latest. good evening.

>> reporter: good evening, carl. once again, we are in a very boisterous and loud tahrir square . the crowds are big tonight, nothing like yesterday. perhaps a quarter of the size they were here. still many uncertainties in this country, but one official told us tonight that they hope to hold new elections in this country within about the next six to eight months. getting there will be difficult, but at least in tahrir tonight, people think this country is off to the right start. they are still party into the night in tahrir square , celebrating the downfall of president morsi. democratically elected, yes. but seen here as a failure, pushed aside by the military with a promise of better days . there is a carnival atmosphere in tahrir square , leaving no doubt who is in charge of this country now, the egyptian military is carrying out an impromptu air show , right over the square , and the people here are loving it. the jets released the colors of the egyptian flag . a new caretaker president sworn in hours earlier. cairo springing back to life. shops opened, people out, the stock market up. 7% just today. but there are more ominous signs, near cairo university , thousands of morsi supporters, mostly islamists, are still protesting, angry, surrounded by egyptian troops. a crockdown under way.

>> this is not legal. innocent people without food and water.

>> reporter: this cell phone video, the last we saw of president morsi, practicing a speech last night, denouncing the military's intervention. he never got to deliver it. the army tells only that he is now "in a safe place ." in commucado, banned from travel. they are searching for 300 members of the muslim brotherhood as some morsi supporters are posting threats on line, that they'll become suicide bombers. the u.s. embassy , just off tahrir square , is closed. and the embassy's fourth of july celebration, canceled. nonessential staff ordered home. a sign of how volatile the biggest country in the arab world remains, after its second revolution. morsi supporters tomorrow, carl, are planning to have their own demonstration after friday prayers, calling it the day of rejection.

>> the threats from morsi supporters, how seriously do you take them? how real is the threat of violence over the coming days?

>> reporter: i'm not sure how real it is over the coming days. a lot of key members of muslim brotherhood have now gone underground, on the run. in places like boston it doesn't take a large group of radicals to create a lot of damage. certainly there will be maybe a few hundred, maybe just a few dozen people who want to take revenge for what happened. over time , the threat of violence is quite high.

>> richard engel in tahrir square ,