Jama’a al-Islamiya: Diverting Blue Nile is a “declaration of war”

Sheikh Abdel Akher Hammad, Jama'a al-Islamiya's mufti, has said that Ethiopia's decision on Tuesday to divert the Blue Nile, a main tributary to the Nile River, was "a declaration of war."

The announcement from Ethiopia, which comes amidst its plans to build a hydro-electric Millennium Dam, sparked a popular uproar in Egypt, where fears of a diminished water supply arose. But officials in the “downstream countries” of Egypt and Sudan downplayed the significance of the measure.

Speaking to Al Arabiya satellite channel late Wednesday, Hammad said that the diverting of the river represents a threat to Egypt's national security, stressing that the government should not be careless in handling the issue. He added that if war is declared on Egyptians, "we will never tolerate it and we will defend our rights with force."  He pointed out that all Egyptians should recognize the gravity of the situation.

Abdel Akher, however, said that the solution for the time being should involve diplomatic efforts. He added that the former regime is to blame for this crisis.