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(A man prays at the Al-Azhar mosque in old Cairo August 18, 2010/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

Egypt’s highest Islamic authority, al-Azhar, has condemned Western military “aggression” in Libya but said it supported what it called the legitimate demands of the Libyan people’s revolution.

Azhar, one of the oldest seats of Sunni Islamic learning, warned the United States and Britain against “dividing Libya and destroying its natural and human wealth, as happened in Iraq,” the state Al Ahram newspaper said on Wednesday .

But the Cairo-based body also condemned Arab governments who oppressed citizens for decades. It said their leaders should not stay in office if that would lead to more bloodshed.

“They should leave their posts. That is the least they can do to repond to their people, who have endured them and been patient for so long,” the paper quoted a statement as saying.