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Analysis: Egypt enters uncharted territory

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In anticipation of mass protests by Brotherhood supporters on Friday, Tamarod, or Rebel, has called on Egyptians to form popular committees to counter any violence by the Islamists during the demonstrations, proposing a scenario that places rivals face to face on the streets with a chance of violence breaking out.

Already, Islamist hard-liners in the strategic Sinai Peninsula are waging a worsening insurgency against security forces, with near daily attacks. Sinai has for several years now been roiled in unrest, but the dramatic increase in the number of attacks on security forces there began as soon as Morsi was ousted, leading many to deduce that the Brotherhood and militants in Sinai were somehow bonded.

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"Sure civil war is a possibility," said Michael W. Hanna, an expert on Egypt from the New York-based Century Foundation. "It will be bad, with suicide bombings and assassinations but not necessarily another Syria or Iraq."


Hendawi is chief of bureau for The Associated Press in Cairo. He has covered the Middle East for the AP since 1995.

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