Egyptian armed forces spokesman Col. Ahmed Mohamed Ali (Photo: AP)
Egypt's military has denied it intends to launch a Friday crackdown on loyalists of toppled Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.
Statements allegedly by army chief of staff Sidky Saleh have been circulating in the Egyptian media about an imminent “zero hour” military clampdown on pro-Morsi protesters at Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque in Cairo's Nasr City.
Army spokesperson Ahmed Mohamed Ali described the rumours as unfounded and designed to tarnish the army's reputation.
Army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi's call for mass rallies on Friday to give the army a mandate to combat “violence and terrorism” does not signify a threat to any political faction, Ali asserted via a military-affiliated Facebook page.
Ali added, "The [call] constitutes a national initiative to combat violence and terrorism… and to press ahead with the revolution's journey."
False allegations about the army's intentions are part of a systematic campaign to spark unrest, inflame public opinion and serve the suspicious goals of a particular political faction, Ali asserted.
Many fear rival protests by supporters of the army and those of former president Mohamed Morsi could lead to violence as the country becomes increasingly polarised and tense.