Egyptian military patrols Suez Canal, shipping normal: sources

ISMAILIA, Egypt Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:24am EDT

Egyptian soldiers stand guard near Qasr el-Nil bridge that leads to Tahrir square where anti-Mursi protesters start to gather for a mass protest to support the army in Cairo, July 26, 2013. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih

Egyptian soldiers stand guard near Qasr el-Nil bridge that leads to Tahrir square where anti-Mursi protesters start to gather for a mass protest to support the army in Cairo, July 26, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Asmaa Waguih

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ISMAILIA, Egypt (Reuters) - Egyptian military aircraft patrolled the Suez Canal on Friday to ensure shipping was not disrupted during a day of rallies by supporters and foes of deposed President Mohamed Mursi, security sources said.

An official with the authority that runs the Suez Canal, a major source of foreign currency for Egypt, said shipping was moving as normal, uninterrupted by the demonstrations gathering pace in Cairo and other cities.

The security sources said naval vessels were also stationed at both ends of the canal as a precaution.

Army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has urged Egyptians to demonstrate against "violence and terrorism" on Friday, while supporters of Mursi, toppled by the military on July 3, called for counter-rallies.

Violence has flared in various areas since Mursi's ouster, but some of the worst has been in Sinai, which lies next to the Suez Canal. Militants have staged a series of raids on security forces there. The area is particularly sensitive as it borders Israel, with which Egypt signed a peace deal in 1979.

(Reporting by Yousri Mohamed; Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Crispian Balmer)

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