Cairo: Egypt`s Muslim Brotherhood on Thursday sharply criticised the military for ousting the country`s Islamist president, comparing its rule to that of Adolf Hitler, Roman emperor Nero or Mongol conqueror Hulagu Khan, remarks likely to stoke tensions ahead of rival rallies by supporters and opponents of the former leader.
The language was particularly sharp even compared to other recent Brotherhood tirades, and is certain to further sour chances of political reconciliation with Egypt`s interim authorities, at least in the foreseeable future.
The group has delivered a flurry of anti-military pronouncements in the three months since Mohammed Morsi, Egypt`s first freely elected president, was toppled in a popularly-backed military coup.
Since Morsi`s July 3 ouster, the country`s military-backed government has moved against the Brotherhood, banning the group, seizing its assets and arresting hundreds of its members and supporters.
The rival rallies on Sunday, both are planned for Cairo`s central Tahrir Square, carry the potential for violent clashes between Morsi`s Islamist supporters and Egyptians who back the military.
The date is also a national holiday, marking the 40th anniversary of the start of the 1973 Middle East war in which Egyptian forces made initial gains against Israel.
Most Egyptians revere the memory of that war as one of victory, a sentiment that leaves the Brotherhood in a negative light on account of its call for anti-military rallies on its anniversary.
The statement also vilified the regime of Egypt`s charismatic leader Gamal Abdel-Nasser, again clashing with popular sentiment that the late leader was a champion of the poor and a nationalist who held the country together.
Abdel-Nasser cracked down on the Brotherhood in the 1950s and 1960s, jailing hundreds of its members and executing several of its leaders.
Underlining that sentiment, Interim President Adly Mansour on today posthumously decorated Mohammed Fawzi, a wartime defense minister who served under Abdel-Nasser.
"If history will mention the 1973 (military) commanders on its brightest pages, there is no doubt that it will mention the leaders of the bloody coup who murdered their Egyptian brothers on the same page with Nero, Hulagu and Hitler," the Brotherhood statement said.