Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Egypt defense chief talks of inclusion

CAIRO — Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, Egypt's minister of defense, made his first public comments Sunday about the violence that led to more than 1,000 deaths, including 79 on Saturday, offering a conciliatory tone to supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi.

But el-Sissi and military-appointed government officials named after Morsi's July 3 ouster defended their actions, saying they were protecting the state from those who want to destroy it and would not tolerate violent protests. Without naming the Muslim Brotherhood, the organization through which Morsi rose to the presidency, they described their foes as groups aiming to "intimidate the citizens."

Meanwhile, on a day when quiet had settled on streets that had been scenes of violent clashes since Wednesday, 36 Islamist prisoners were killed during an attempted jailbreak, according to Egypt's official MENA news agency, which cited an unidentified security official.

The prisoners reportedly kidnapped a police officer and were assisted by "unknown gunmen," according to the news agency. A Muslim Brotherhood-connected group alleged that police killed the inmates during a transfer to another prison, MENA reported.

Speaking of the violence in recent days, el-Sissi and others commended the government's "self restraint" and said they, too, were saddened by the loss of life. El-Sissi spoke to army forces Sunday. Such rhetoric, coupled with Morsi supporters' conviction that the cause is worth dying for, has turned Egypt into battleground of competing interests.

"We will not stand by silently watching the destruction of the country and the people or the torching (of) the nation and terrorizing the citizens," el-Sissi was quoted as saying in a post on the military's Facebook page.

El-Sissi, who announced Morsi's removal, said the government would reconcile with those with no blood on their hands, but offered no specifics about who that included or what reconciliation could look like.

"There is room for everyone in Egypt, and we are cautious about every drop of Egyptian blood," el-Sissi said.

Other government officials, however, have suggested that there is no place for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt's political future.

Sunday, the start of the workweek here, brought the calmest day since more than 600 Morsi supporters were killed in clashes with security forces Wednesday. But the nation remained tense as Egyptians waited for what today would bring. Morsi supporters have called for a weeklong protest against the military and its civilian-appointed government.

The Muslim Brotherhood canceled some of its planned protests just before they were set to start, citing security concerns. But even before the cancellation, it appeared the protesters chose to not come out, either out of fear, to reorganize their approach, to mourn their dead, or in an effort to return to normal functions like work.

According to the state news agency, 79 people were killed Saturday, as Friday protests extended into a second day and a faceoff at al-Fath mosque in Cairo.

Shift in aid

The Obama administration has taken steps to curtail some economic assistance to Egypt, but not the much larger military aid on which Egypt's generals depend, U.S. officials said Sunday. Of the $1.55 billion in total assistance the White House has requested for 2014, $1.3 billion is military and $250 million is economic. Lawmakers remain divided on whether to cut off aid.

New York Times

Egypt defense chief talks of inclusion 08/18/13 [Last modified: Monday, August 19, 2013 12:23am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Good to be bad? Dirk Koetter's call for bold, brash Bucs


    Is being a badass team all about swagger and toughness? "Our whole thing is about competing," Bucs coach Dirk Koetter says. (Loren Elliott | Times)
  2. St. Pete sewage crisis ends with no charges, $326 million bill


    ST. PETERSBURG — The city has put the legal fallout from the sewage crisis behind it.

    Signs at North Shore Park in St. Petersburg warn people in September to stay out of the water due to contamination from partially treated sewage from the city's overwhelmed sewer system in September 2016. The city recently learned that no employees will face charges as a result of that crisis. The St. Petersburg City Council also agreed to spend $326 million fixing its sewer system. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  3. Epilogue: Tony Scaglione served Ybor delicacies and laughs


    Tony Scaglione's childhood dream was to own his family's restaurant.

    Tony Scaglione - the longtime owner of Tony's Ybor Restaurant - has died.  He was 87. Credit: Larry Scaglione
  4. What you need to know for Friday, July 21


    href=""> Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during minicamp this summer. He said the Bucs could be "a bad--- football team." [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Final sign positions should cut danger where trail crosses interstate ramp


    I am concerned with the yield signs I saw recently installed for the new bike and pedestrian trail along either side of Roosevelt Boulevard between Carillon Parkway/28th Street and Interstate 275. These yield signs seem to be pointing to the drivers, one side as they exit the interstate northbound, the other as they …