Egypt's top Muslim cleric goes into seclusion to protest bloodshed, warns of civil war

Egypt's top Muslim cleric is warning of civil war and says he will go into seclusion at his home until the bloodshed ends as a show of protest.

Sheik Ahmed el-Tayeb also called for the transitional period that began following last week's ouster of the president to be limited to six months.

In a statement he says he will go into seclusion until "everyone shoulders his responsibility to stop the bloodshed, instead of dragging the country into civil war."

El-Tayeb is the grand imam of the Al-Azhar Mosque, the world's primary seat of learning for Sunni Muslims, the vast majority of the world's Muslims.

El-Tayeb's Monday statement came hours after clashes between security forces and supporters of the ousted president Mohammed Morsi left at least 42 killed.