Cairo - Egypt's military appealed for conciliation and
warned against revenge attacks after it toppled president Mohamed Morsi, as
police rounded up senior Islamists ahead of planned rallies by Morsi's
supporters on Friday.
The military published the statement on its spokesperson's
Facebook page as scores were injured in clashes between the Islamist Morsi's
supporters and opponents in the Nile Delta ahead of the planned rallies.
In the restive Sinai peninsula, a soldier was killed in an
attack by Islamist militants early Friday, as gunmen ambushed several army and
police positions with machine gun fire and rockets and attacked an airport.
The official MENA news agency said military Apache
helicopters dispatched to pursue gunmen who attacked an airport in northern
Sinai struck a militants' vehicle. It gave no further details.
Some militants in the peninsula had threatened a violent
response after Morsi's ouster on Wednesday.
The military statement said it supported the right to
peaceful protest, but warned that violence and civil disobedience acts such as
blocking roads would "harm social peace".
The clashes in the Nile Delta province of Sharqiya broke out
hours after chief justice Adly Mansour, 67, was sworn in as interim president
until new elections, at a ceremony broadcast live from the Supreme
The Islamists accuse the military of conducting a brazen
coup against Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected but controversial
president, following massive protests calling for the Islamist's ouster.
Morsi's Musim Brotherhood movement has called for peaceful
protests on Friday against the "coup," as police continue to hunt its
The military statement said "exceptional and autocratic
measures against any political group" should be avoided, even as security
forces rounded up top Muslim Brotherhood officials.
Police arrested the Brotherhood's supreme leader Mohammed
Badie "for inciting the killing of protesters", a security official
Former supreme guide Mahdi Akef was also arrested, state
Morsi himself was "preventively detained" by the
military, a senior officer had told AFP early on Thursday, hours after his
overthrow the night before, suggesting the ousted president might face trial.
"The armed forces believe that the forgiving nature and
manners of the Egyptian people, and the eternal values of Islam, do not allow
us to turn to revenge and gloating," the army said in its statement.
The United States on Thursday pressed Egyptian officials to
avoid the "arbitrary arrests" of ousted Islamist president Mohamed
Morsi and his supporters, a US administration official said.
Morsi's government unravelled late on Wednesday after the
army gave him a 48-hour ultimatum in the wake of massive demonstrations since 30
June against his turbulent year in office.
In Cairo, anger gave way to gloom as thousands of the
embattled Islamist movement's supporters rallied at a mosque, surrounded by the
"It's a soft military coup. The military was smart,
using the cover of civilians," said one, 26-year-old Ahmed al-Sayyed, in
reference to the mass anti-Morsi protests.
Military chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced
Morsi's overthrow on Wednesday night, citing his inability to end a deepening
political crisis, as dozens of armoured personnel carriers streamed onto
A judicial source said the prosecution would on Monday begin
questioning Brotherhood members, including Morsi, for "insulting the
Other leaders of the movement would be questioned on the
same charges, including the head of its political arm Saad al-Katatni, Mohammed
al-Beltagui, Gamal Gibril and Taher Abdel Mohsen.
Morsi and 35 other Brotherhood leaders have also had a
travel ban imposed on them.
Analysts said Morsi and his Islamists hastened their own
"Morsi and the Brotherhood made almost every
conceivable mistake... they alienated potential allies, ignored rising
discontent, (and) focused more on consolidating their rule than on using what
tools they did have," Nathan Brown wrote on the New Republic website.
Morsi's supporters argue the president was confronted at
every turn with a hostile bureaucracy left over by former strongman Hosni
Mubarak, overthrown in an early 2011 uprising.
Morsi had issued a defiant call for supporters to protect
his elected "legitimacy", in a recorded speech hours after the
military announced his ouster.
"We had to confront it at some point, this threatening
rhetoric," a senior military officer told AFP. "He succeeded in
creating enmity between Egyptians."
Morsi's rule was marked by a spiralling economic crisis,
shortages of fuel and often deadly opposition protests.
Thousands of protesters dispersed after celebrating wildly
through the night at the news of his downfall.
Egypt's press almost unanimously hailed Morsi's ouster as a
"And the people's revolution was victorious," read
the front page of state-owned Al-Akhbar.
US President Barack Obama said he was "deeply
concerned" over Morsi's ouster and urged the army to refrain from
In May, Washington approved $1.3bn in military aid to Egypt.
That was now under review, said Obama, as he called for a swift return to
Germany called the military's move "a major setback for
democracy in Egypt", while UN chief Ban Ki-moon said civilian rule should
resume as soon as possible.
Governments across the Middle East welcomed Morsi's ouster
in varying degrees, with war-hit Syria calling it a "great