Army says 'ready to die' to defend Egypt

Egypt's armed forces chief said Wednesday the military is ready to die to defend the people against "terrorists" and extremists, after President Mohamed Morsi rejected an army ultimatum and public pressure to quit.

The statement was posted on a Facebook page associated with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces headed by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

"The general commander of the armed forces said it was more honourable for us to die than to have the people of Egypt terrorised or threatened," the statement said in a post entitled "The Final Hours".

"We swear to God that we will sacrifice our blood for Egypt and its people against all terrorists, extremists and ignorant" groups, it said, citing the army chief.

The statement was issued just hours after Morsi rejected an army ultimatum calling on him to find a way out of the current crisis by 4:30 pm (1430 GMT) on Wednesday or face an army-drafted roadmap.