Sisi: Egypt will "fight terrorism" and "stabilize country"
Sisi is expected to run for president in Egypt's tentative elections (File Archive/AFP)
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Egypt’s Defense Minister General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi vowed on Thursday to fight terrorism and stabilize the deeply divided country hours after an explosion hit a public bus in Cairo, wounding at least five people, security officials said.
“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 defense minister, in a statement released by the army.
Sisi, whose popularity has soared since he ousted former President Mohammad Morsi, said the defense forces had the capability to make Egypt “stable, secure and progressive,” AFP reported.
Sisi spoke hours after a blast went off in Cairo as a bus passed near al-Azhar University in the capital’s eastern Nasr City district, Al Arabiya News Channel reported.
Security officials said they were investigating whether the bomb had been placed on the bus or hurled by an assailant.
The victims received mild to moderate injuries, a health ministry official told Agence France-Presse.
On Tuesday, a massive suicide car bombing in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura killed 16 people and wounded scores.
Sisi’s remarks came a day after the military-installed authorities labeled 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 Muslim Brotherhood for carrying it out.
Morsi’s ouster has left Egypt deeply divided. 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.
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