Egyptâ€™s military said it was ready to sacrifice itself in the fight against â€œfools,â€ while President Mohamed Mursi vowed to defend his legitimacy with his life as time ran out on the armyâ€™s ultimatum to end the political crisis.
The showdown is pitting the countryâ€™s first democratically elected president against detractors who claim heâ€™s sold out the goals of the 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak to advance Islamist interests. Clashes between his supporters and critics left at least 18 dead and 619 wounded over the past 24 hours, said Ahmed El-Ansari, deputy head of the national ambulance service.
â€œIf the price of safeguarding legitimacy is my own blood, I am ready to sacrifice it,â€ Mursi said in a late night televised speech. â€œThere is no alternative to constitutional legitimacy.â€
The army said July 1 it would impose its own plan if Mursi didnâ€™t end Egyptâ€™s political crisis and meet the peopleâ€™s demands within 48 hours. The state-run Al-Ahram newspaper summed up the stakes in a headline reading: â€œToday: Removal or Resignation.â€
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