Mursi, Egypt army ready to die in ‘Final Hours’ showdown

 

Anti-Mursi protesters listen to Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi's speech at a public cafe near the main square where they gathered for the third day in Alexandria, July 2, 2013. Mursi concluded an address to the nation early on Wednesday by pledging to continue to carry out his democratic duties and to defend the legitimate order enshrined in law. REUTERS-Asmaa Waguih

(Reuters) – Egypt’s army commander and Islamist President Mohamed Mursi each pledged to die for his cause as a deadline neared on Wednesday that will trigger a military takeover backed by protesters.

 

Military chiefs, vowing to restore order in a country racked by demonstrations over Mursi’s Islamist policies, issued a call to battle in a statement headlined “The Final Hours”. They said they were willing to shed blood against “terrorists and fools” after Mursi refused to give up his elected office.

 

The armed forces general command was holding a crisis meeting, a military source said, less than five hours before an ultimatum was due to expire for Mursi to either agree to share power or make way for an army-imposed solution.

 

In an emotional, rambling midnight television address, the president said he was democratically elected and would stay in office to uphold the constitutional order, declaring: “The price of preserving legitimacy is my life.”

 

Liberal opponents said it showed he had “lost his mind”.

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