Tensions in Egypt continue to escalate as Muslim Brotherhood members fight back against last week’s ouster of President Mohamed Morsi.
More than 50 people were reported killed and hundreds wounded Monday in clashes between Egyptian military and Morsi supporters. Army officials say troops opened fire only after they were attacked by protesters, but protesters claim some of the killings took place during prayer. Muslim Brotherhood officials are increasing the intensity of the rhetoric, as its political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party, called for the great Egyptian people to rise up against those who want to steal their revolution with tanks and armored vehicles, even over the dead bodies of the people.”
Speaking to a rally of Morsi supporters in Cairo’s Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque, Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, pledged that they “will not leave the streets until president Morsi is reinstated” promising that they will “sacrifice our souls for him.”
Army officials closed a Freedom and Justice Party office Monday after discovering knives, other weapons and flammable liquid inside.
At least one Egyptian military officer was killed more than 40 wounded in clashes at the Republican Guard headquarters. A video shows the savage beating of two soldiers by protesters on a bridge. Based upon the uniforms of the soldiers in the video, it seems they were assigned to the Egyptian El-Haras el-Gomhoury (Republican Guard’s) Military Police Battalion.
Such violence is not limited to Cairo, as a police station in the Egyptian city of Rafah was attacked; killing one and wounding two more Egyptian soldiers. Rafah, located in Egypt’s volatile Sinai region, borders the Gaza Strip. Additionally, five Egyptian police officers were killed while guarding government buildings, checkpoints, and a hospital in the town of El Arish; also in Sinai.
Video posted by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) shows Morsi supporters pelting what appear to be opponents with stones before tossing them off a rooftop.
Muslim Brotherhood supporters also engaged in smear campaigns against the military and, notably, the newly-installed interim leader, Adly Mansour, even going so far as to claim he is Jewish.
Meanwhile other Morsi supporters are threatening to take the conflict to its most extreme end. In a video addressed to General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, a Morsi supporter vows that Egypt will be destroyed. “Know that you have created a new Taliban and a new al-Qaeda in Egypt. All this crowd will split into martyrdom groups. They will destroy you and destroy Egypt” exclaimed one Morsi supporter. “Bring matters to where they were or else you’ll see all these masses blowing up Egypt.”
In the same clip, a burqa-clad woman had this to say to her Christian neighbors, “I am a religious Egyptian lady. I tell the Christians one word: You live by our side. We will set you on fire! We will set you on fire!”
Frank Spano serves as the Director of National Security Policy for The Investigative Project on Terrorism.