Egypt: Brotherhood dismisses army's calls
25 July 2013, 12:18
Cairo - Egypt's military chief called on Wednesday for mass
demonstrations to give the army a mandate to deal with "violence and
terrorism," signalling a possible crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood
and its supporters.
"I ask honourable Egyptians to take to the streets on
Friday to give us a mandate to face potential violence and terrorism,"
Abdel-Fatah al-Sissi, who toppled Islamist president Mohammed Morsi, told a
televised ceremony at a military college in Cairo.
"I want Egyptians to show the world that they have a
willpower and decision-making. If some people resort to violence and terrorism,
the army and police will be mandated to face this."
A senior official in the Brotherhood, to which Morsi
belongs, dismissed al-Sissi's call.
"The millions will actually turn out on Friday but to
support legitimacy and reject the coup," Essam al-Erian wrote on Facebook.
"Al-Sissi's threats will serve him no good."
The anti-Islamist group Tamarod, which spearheaded the
street protests that preceded Morsi's removal, backed al-Sissi's call.
The movement called on Egyptians to pack the nation's major
squares on Friday to "support the Armed Forces' coming war on
The Brotherhood has said it will hold rival rallies, raising
the risk of clashes.
Both sides have traded blame for violence in which dozens of
Egyptians have been killed since Morsi's overthrow by the army on 3 July, after
unprecedented protests by millions to demand the Islamist president step down.
The Brotherhood has condemned Morsi's toppling as a coup and
vowed to protest until he is restored to office.
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mohammed ElBaradei, a vice
president in the military-backed interim government, urged compromise,
addressing a first session of reconciliation talks proposed by caretaker
President Adli Mansour, attended by secular politicians and representatives of
al-Azhar - Egypt's major Islamic institution - and the Coptic Church.
"There is room in the country for everyone,"
ElBaradei told participants. "Reconciliation should not be limited to
partners to the political process, but should include all Egyptians."
The Brotherhood and allied Islamists boycotted the meeting,
saying they do not recognize the military-backed government.
The United States is concerned about the possibility of the
protests leading to more violence, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said
"We remain focused on encouraging the interim
government to move towards an inclusive process, which includes elections -
civilian elections - and we're monitoring closely steps they're taking to do
just that," she said.
The Pentagon said Wednesday it had halted the delivery to
Egypt of four F-16 fighter jets, due to unrest in the country.
"Given the current situation in Egypt we do not believe
it is appropriate to move forward at this time with the delivery of
F-16s," spokesman George Little told reporters.
The jets were scheduled to be delivered Tuesday as part of a
US military aid package. Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel informed al-Sissi of the
decision by telephone, Little said.
Psaki said the decision was made by President Barack Obama
and unanimously supported by his national security team. The US is examining
whether Morsi's removal was a coup, which would trigger a legal requirement to
cut off aid.
Meanwhile, three people were killed and more than 30 injured
in Egypt, according to a senior health official, in the latest violence since
the army deposed Morsi.
Two people were killed and three wounded in an attack on
apro-Morsi march in Cairo, said Mohammed Sultan, the head of the government
Muslim Brotherhood Gehad El-Haddad alleged that
plain-clothed police fired live ammunition at demonstrators.
Elsewhere, one police officer died and 28 people were
wounded, when two bomb blasts hit a security building in the Nile Delta town of
Mansura, Sultan told the independent newspaper al-Youm al-Saba.
In the Sinai Peninsula, where Islamist militants are active,
three gunmen were killed on Wednesday when their car struck a landmine, an
Egyptian security official said.
The blast took place near the town of al-Arish in northern
Sinai, which borders Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip.
State media said the militants were killed when explosives
in their car blew up.