In further unrest, workers striking over a contract dispute shut down Egypt’s key Red Sea port of Ain Sukhna for a seventh day, leading four ships to cancel plans to dock there on Thursday, state news agency MENA reported.
During a recent talk show on the popular Salafi TV channel, Al-Hafez, cleric Mahmoud Shaaban said the leaders of the National Salvation Front are ‘‘setting Egypt on fire to gain power.’’
‘‘The verdict against them under God’s law is death,’’ he said.
He mentioned ElBaradei and another Front leader, Hamdeen Sabahi, saying ‘‘they have repeatedly spoken about toppling Morsi.’’ Later in the program, he clarified that the government should carry out the verdict, not private citizens.
Separately, another hardline cleric Wagdi Ghoneim issued a video statement pleading with Morsi to crack down heavily on those outside his palace. ‘‘The verdict under Shariah for those who seek corruption on earth is to be fought, or crucified, or have their arms or legs cut off or be exiled from earth,’’ he said.
‘‘Strike with an iron fist. Otherwise, the country will be lost at your hand and they'll say it is your fault. They'll say Islam doesn’t know how to rule and that it’s the Islamists who wrecked the country,’’ he said. He said that if Morsi’s government doesn’t act, private citizens will.
‘‘We will kill the criminals, the thugs, the thieves and those who give them money and those who help them with words. No mercy with them,’’ Ghoneim shouted.
Top prosecutor Talaat Ibrahim on Thursday ordered an investigation into Shaaban for his fatwa.
In another development, one of deposed leader Hosni Mubarak’s most trusted men has been released from prison pending further investigation into corruption charges, according to a security official.
Safwat el-Sherif, the country’s former parliament speaker, has walked out of Torah prison in southern Cairo district, late Thursday, the official says. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.
El-Sherif, who served also as information minister for two decades and headed the former ruling National Democratic Party, spent nearly 18 months in prison. He was one of Mubarak’s strongmen.
El-Sherif is among a long list of other former Mubarak associates — businessmen, ministers and others — who were tried and face trial over alleged corruption.
Popular complaints of endemic graft in government circles were behind 2011 uprising that toppled Mubarak.