Egypt is braced for further dramatic events on Friday as the vanquished Muslim Brotherhood called for a “day of rejection” following a widespread crackdown on its leadership by the country’s new interim president, Adly Mansour.
Supporters of the ousted president Mohamed Morsi, still reeling from the military coup that removed their leader from power, are expected to take to the streets after Friday prayers following a series of raids and arrests that decimated the Muslim Brotherhood’s senior ranks and consolidated the miltary’s hold on the country.
Besides Badie, security officials also arrested his predecessor, Mahdi Akef, and one of his two deputies, Rashad Bayoumi, as well as Saad el-Katatni, head of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, and the ultraconservative Salafi figure Hazem Abu Ismail, Associated Press reported.
Badie was arrested late on Wednesday from a villa where he had been staying in the Mediterranean coastal city of Marsa Matrouh and flown by helicopter to Cairo, security officials told AP.
The arrests of up to 300 Muslim Brotherhood officials are believed to have been ordered since the country’s military commander, General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, brought an end to Morsi’s presidency on Wednesday night, a little over a year since he was inaugurated as the country’s first democratically-elected leader.
Gehad el-Haddad, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, said: “We are being headhunted all over the country. We are holding a mass rally after Friday prayers to take all peaceful steps necessary to bring down this coup.” He called for demonstrations to be peaceful, despite fears that anger may spill over into violence. – Guardian: Egypt prepares for backlash as Morsi allies reject new regime
Egypt closes Gaza border after clashes in Sinai
An Egyptian official says the country’s border crossing with Gaza Strip in northern Sinai has been closed indefinitely, citing security concerns.
The decision comes hours after suspected Islamic militants attacked four sites in northern Sinai, targeting two military checkpoints, a police station and el-Arish airport, where military aircraft are stationed.
The military and security forces responded to the attacks. One soldier was killed and three were wounded.
Gen. Sami el-Metwali said Rafah passage was shut down on Friday. He didn’t say when it would be reopened. Some 200 Palestinians were turned back to the Gaza Strip after the order. – My Way News: Egypt closes Gaza border after clashes in Sinai
Supporters, foes of Mursi clash near Cairo
Clashes have been reported between Egyptian military forces and supporters of ousted President Mohamed Mursi near a sit-in for Muslim Brotherhood’s supporters in Giza south west Cairo, Al Arabiya’s correspondent said.
Meanwhile, a security source told Al Arabiya that the military is sending 25 armored vehicles to Zagazig, the capital of the governorate of Sharqia.
The news comes after an Islamist coalition led by the Brotherhood called on people across the nation to protest in a “Friday of Rejection” following weekly prayers, an early test of Mursi’s ongoing support and how the military will deal with it.
Mursi’s removal after a year in office marked another twist in the turmoil that has gripped the Arab world’s most populous country in the two years since the fall of Hosni Mubarak.
Army intervention was backed by millions of Egyptians, including liberal leaders and religious figures who expect new elections under a revised set of rules. – Al-Arabiya: Supporters, foes of Mursi clash near Cairo