CAIRO – Egypt’s army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who led the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, vowed Thursday to fight terrorism and stabilise the deeply polarised country.
“Do not worry or fear, the army will sacrifice for Egypt. We will eliminate” terrorism, Sisi said at a military ceremony, in his first comments after Egypt was rocked by two bomb attacks this week.
“Do not allow these terrorist actions to affect you. If you want freedom and stability, which is not achieved easily, then you have to trust God and your army and your police,” said Sisi, who is also defence minister, in a statement released by the army.
Sisi, whose popularity has soared since he ousted Morsi, said the defence forces had the capability to make Egypt “stable, secure and progressive.”
On Tuesday, a massive suicide car bombing in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura killed 15 people and wounded scores, and a bomb exploded near a bus in Cairo on Thursday, wounding five.
Sisi’s remarks came a day after the military-installed authorities labelled Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group.
The bombing in Mansoura was claimed by an Al-Qaeda-inspired jihadist group and was condemned by the Brotherhood, but the authorities have blamed the Islamist movement for carrying it out.
Morsi’s ouster has left Egypt deeply polarised. It triggered a spiral of bloodshed, as the authorities clamped down on the deposed president’s supporters, with more than 1,000 people killed in street clashes and thousands more arrested.
And more than 100 policemen and soldiers have been killed since then, mostly in the restive Sinai peninsula, where militant activity has increased.