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EGYPT UPDATE: Islamist supporters of Mursi to express outrage with rally
# CAIRO - Islamist supporters of Egypt’s ousted president, Mohamed Mursi, will rally on Friday to express their outrage at his overthrow by the army and to reject a planned interim government backed by their liberal opponents. Dozens of people were wounded in clashes in Mursi’s home city on Thursday, raising fears of more of the violence in which several dozen have died in the past month. There were also militant attacks in the restive Sinai peninsula, next to Israel. How the army deals with trouble will help determine future support for Cairo from the United States and other international powers.
# CAIRO - An Egyptian soldier was killed early Friday in coordinated rocket and machine gun attacks by Islamist militants on army checkpoints and a police base in the restive Sinai, medics said.
The soldier was killed when the militants fired on an army checkpoint near the north Sinai village of al-Gura, medics said, adding two other soldiers were wounded in the attack.
Following president Mohamed Morsi’s ouster by the military on Thursday, several militants have publicly threatened violence in retaliation
# The Egyptian armed forces said on Thursday they would not take arbitrary measures against any political group and would guarantee the right to protest, as long as demonstrations did not threaten national security.
The statement was posted on Facebook after the arrests of leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood following the army's removal of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi and ahead of protest rallies that the Brotherhood was planning to hold on Friday.
The United States, which subsidizes Egypt's armed forces, has voiced concerns about human rights and pressed for a rapid return to elected civilian government - though it has stopped short of calling the overthrow of Mursi a "coup."
Egypt's army command said: "Wisdom, true nationalism and constructive human values that all religions have called for, require us now to avoid taking any exceptional or arbitrary measures against any faction or political current."
It added: "Peaceful protest and freedom of expression are rights guaranteed to everyone, which Egyptians have earned as one of the most important gains of their glorious revolution.
"Excessive use of this right without reason could carry some negative implications, including blocking roads, delaying public benefits and destroying institutions, posing a threat to social peace, the national interest and damaging the security and economy in our precious Egypt."
The Brotherhood, which was banned and oppressed under Egypt's previous military-backed rulers, denounced a military coup against the country's first freely elected leader on Wednesday.
Other parties, including liberals and some Islamists, with backing from a range of groups including clerics and youth activists, endorsed a plan issued by the armed forces for revising the constitution and holding new elections.
# Egyptian military police on Thursday arrested Muslim Brotherhood supreme guide Mohammed Badie, a security official said, as authorities rounded up members of the influential group from which ousted president Mohamed Morsi hails.
Badie “was arrested in (the western city of) Marsa Matrouh at the request of the prosecution for inciting the killing of protesters,” the official told AFP.
A judicial source told AFP that the prosecution would on Monday begin questioning members of the group, including Morsi, for “insulting the judiciary” as charges against the movement began to pile up.
Other Brotherhood leaders would be questioned on the same charges, the source said, including the head of the group’s political arm Saad al-Katatni, Mohammed al-Beltagui, Gamal Gibril and Taher Abdel Mohsen.
Morsi and 35 other senior leaders have also been banned from travel pending investigation into several charges, the public prosecutor’s office told AFP.
The Muslim Brotherhood, long-banned under former president Hosni Mubarak, shot to power after the 2011 uprising.