CAIRO - A leader of a hardline Egyptian Islamist group that fought the state in the 1990s warned that the army had driven the nation to the "edge of a precipice" since he fled the country after President Mohamed Morsi's ouster in July.
The state and Islamists are old foes in Egypt, a strategic US ally which has a peace treaty with Israel and controls the Suez Canal. Egypt has been torn by the worst internal strife in its modern history since the army deposed the Islamist Morsi.
Assem Abdel Maged of the Gamaa Islamiya told the Qatar-based Al Jazeera network he expected the situation in Egypt to deteriorate, saying protests "will be what breaks this coup".
He said the military made a "major mistake" by siding with "religious, political, and social minorities", an allusion to Christians and secular-minded Egyptians.
"Everything that happens in Egypt now is in the interests of the minorities. Therefore the situation cannot continue this way, and the army must review its position quickly because the country is on the edge of a precipice," Abdel Maged said.
Abdel Maged, who once shared a prison cell with al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri, was jailed for 25 years until 2006 for a role in the 1981 assassination of President Anwar Sadat. He now faces charges of inciting the killing of protesters.