Radical Islamist group threatens violence after Egypt Morsi overthrow

Reuters, Ahram Online, Saturday 6 Jul 2013

A new extremist group is set up in Egypt to fight 'military coup' against the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamists

A new Islamist group has announced its formation in Egypt, calling the army's ousting of Mohamed Morsi a declaration of war on its faith and threatening to use violence to impose Islamic law.

Ansar Al-Sharia in Egypt said it would gather arms and start training its members, in a statement posted on an online forum for militants in the country's Sinai region Friday and recorded by the SITE Monitoring Service.

The army's move, which was backed by mass rallies across Egypt, has raised fears Islamists could desert officially recognised groups like Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood and move to more militant movements.

Morsi's exit has already triggered violence. At least 30 people died as Islamists took to the streets in Cairo and other cities Friday to vent their fury at what they say was a military coup.

Morsi was elected president last year after a popular revolution swept away veteran leader Hosni Mubarak.

The army has appointed an interim leader and announced a transition plan that lacks a timeframe for fresh elections.

It has also arrested senior Muslim Brotherhood members and closed Islamist television stations.

Ansar Al-Sharia said in its statement that the military overthrow, the closing of television channels and the death of Islamist protesters all amounted to "a war declared against Islam in Egypt," SITE reported.

The group blamed the events on "criminal" secularists, supporters of Mubarak and Egyptian Coptic Christians, state security forces and army commanders, who they said would turn the country into "a crusader, secular freak."

It denounced democracy as an "infidel system" and said it would instead champion Islamic law, or Sharia, acquire weapons and train to allow Muslims to "deter the attackers, preserve the religion and empower the Sharia of the Lord," SITE reported.

In the early hours of Friday an Egyptian soldier was killed by an armed Islamic group in North Sinai, later on the same day another five were killed by unknown gunmen in the peninsula.

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