RIYADH - A new Islamist group has announced its formation in
Egypt, calling the army's ousting of President Mohamed Morsi a declaration of
war on its faith and threatening to use violence to impose Islamic
Ansar al-Shariah in Egypt said it would gather arms and start
training its members, in a statement posted on an online forum for militants in
the country's Sinai region on Friday and recorded by the SITE Monitoring organization.
The army's move, which was backed by mass rallies across
Egypt, has raised fears Islamists could desert officially-recognized groups like
Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood and move to more militant movements.
exit has already triggered violence. At least 24 people died as Islamists took
to the streets in Cairo and other cities on Friday to vent their fury at what
they say was a military coup.
Morsi was elected president last year after
a popular revolution swept away veteran leader Hosni Mubarak.
has appointed an interim leader and announced a transition plan which lacks a
time-frame for more elections.
It has also arrested senior Muslim
Brotherhood members and closed Islamist television stations.
al-Shariah said in its statement the military overthrow, the closing of
television channels and the death of Islamist protesters all amounted to "a war
declared against Islam in Egypt", SITE reported.
The group blamed the
events on secularists, supporters of Mubarak and Egyptian Coptic Christians,
state security forces and army commanders, who they said would turn the country
into "a crusader, secular freak".
It denounced democracy and said it
would instead champion Islamic law, or sharia, acquire weapons and train to
allow Muslims to "deter the attackers, preserve the religion and empower the
sharia of the Lord", SITE reported.