Egypt’s Defense Minister General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi vowed 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 last 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 Mursi, 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.
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 Mursi’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.
Mursi’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.
More than 100 policemen and soldiers have been killed since then, mostly in the restive Sinai Peninsula, where militant activity has increased.
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry expressed concern on Egypt's intensified crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood after declaring the organization a terrorist group.
While in a phone call with Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Nabil Fahmy, Kerry denounced the suicide bombing in Mansuora on Tuesday and the subsequent Thursday bus bombing in Cairo, he expressed reservations on designation the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group and the resulting detentions
Source: AFP; Reuters; Al Arabiya