Interim Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi (Photo: AP)
The Egyptian government has urged people to hold firm against attempts by "terrorist" Islamists to spark polarisation, with the country in the throes of violent turmoil after a police crackdown on Islamists left at least 600 dead on Wednesday.
In statement on Friday, the Egyptian cabinet blamed the violence on "terrorist elements" belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood movement, which backs deposed president Mohamed Morsi.
The government along with the army and police are confronting a "malicious terror plot" by the Brotherhood against Egypt, added the statement, marking a shift in policy after the Egyptian regime pledged that the once-ruling group could return to the political process in the days leading up to the storming of the pro-Morsi sit-ins.
Violence flared in several cities across Egypt on Friday as Islamists marching in Cairo and elsewhere clashed with security forces and other residents.
Tens have been reported dead and hundreds wounded on Friday’s "Day of Rage" called by Brotherhood followers to protest Wednesday's police assault.
The statement also expressed thanks to Saudi Arabia’s support as King Abdullah pledged his country would stand by Egypt in its battle against "terrorism."
The Saudi royal had said on Friday in a televised speech it was the Egyptian government's "legitimate right" to battle "those tampering with and misleading its people."
Saudi Arabia has pledged $5 billion in aid to Egypt after president Mohamed Morsi was forced out of power last month.