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Egypt's army warns it's ready to intervene to keep nation from

  • Mideast-Egypt-249

    FILE - In this file photo taken Wednesday, May 8, 2013, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi attends a bi-lateral signing ceremony with Brazil's president at the Planalto presidential palace in Brasilia, Brazil. An Egyptian court on Sunday, June 23, 2013, said Muslim Brotherhood members conspired with Hamas, Hezbollah and local militants to storm a prison in 2011 and free 34 Brotherhood leaders, including the future President Mohammed Morsi. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres, File)

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  • Mideast-Egypt-250

    Protesters chant slogans against Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi outside a court in Ismailia, 139 Kilometers (86 miles) from Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, June 23, 2013. An Egyptian court on Sunday said Muslim Brotherhood members conspired with Hamas, Hezbollah and local militants to storm a prison in 2011 and free 34 Brotherhood leaders, including Morsi. The poster, bottom left, in Arabic reads, "join the rebels, the protesters, and demonstrators."(AP Photo/Mostafa Darwish)

    <ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • Mideast-Egypt-251

    Protesters chant slogans against Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi at a court in Ismailia, 139 Kilometers (86 miles) from Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, June 23, 2013. An Egyptian court on Sunday said Muslim Brotherhood members conspired with Hamas, Hezbollah and local militants to storm a prison in 2011 and free 34 Brotherhood leaders, including Morsi. The poster, top center, in Arabic reads, "the biggest strike of the year, 6/30."(AP Photo/Mostafa Darwish)

    <ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • Brazil-Egypt

    FILE - In this file photo taken Wednesday, May 8, 2013, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi attends a bi-lateral signing ceremony with Brazil's president at the Planalto presidential palace in Brasilia, Brazil. An Egyptian court on Sunday, June 23, 2013, said Muslim Brotherhood members conspired with Hamas, Hezbollah and local militants to storm a prison in 2011 and free 34 Brotherhood leaders, including the future President Mohammed Morsi. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres, File)

    <ASSOCIATED PRESS

CAIRO  — Egypt’s army chief has warned that the military is ready to intervene to stop the nation from entering a “dark tunnel” of internal conflict.

Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, also the defense minister, spoke today, a week ahead of mass protests planned by opponents of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. Egyptians fear the demonstrations calling for Morsi’s ouster will descend into violence after some of the president’s hard-line supporters vowed to “smash” them. Others declared protesters were infidels who deserve to be killed.

El-Sissi’s comments make clear that the military is willing to intervene on the side of the protesters if attacked by the president’s Islamist backers.

He urged all parties to use the week leading up to the June 30 protests to reach a “genuine” understanding to defuse the crisis.

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