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Egypt’s Mursi Refuses to Step Down, Clashes Ensue Sending Black Gold Higher

“Egypt’s military said it was ready to sacrifice itself in the fight against “fools,” while President Mohamed Mursi vowed to defend his legitimacy with his life as time ran out on the army’s ultimatum to end the political crisis.

The showdown is pitting the country’s first democratically elected president against detractors who claim he’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.

“If the price of safeguarding legitimacy is my own blood, I am ready to sacrifice it,” Mursi said in a late night televised speech. “There is no alternative to constitutional legitimacy.”

The army said July 1 it would impose its own plan if Mursi didn’t end Egypt’s political crisis and meet the people’s demands within 48 hours. The state-run Al-Ahram newspaper summed up the stakes in a headline reading: “Today: Removal or Resignation.”

The unrest helped to send West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices above $100 a barrel for the first time since September.

Ahram newspaper reported, without saying where it got the information, that if Mursi didn’t resign, he may be forced to leave office. The military plan would also include replacing the country’s constitution and installing an interim government to be headed by a military leader, Ahram said.

Sacrifice Our Blood

“We swear to God that we will sacrifice for Egypt, and its people, our blood against all terrorists, extremists or fools,” the military’s top brass said in a statement posted on a Facebook page affiliated with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces….”

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