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Egyptian Military Chief Calls For Protests Against 'Terrorism'


A TV grab shows army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi giving a live broadcast on July 24 calling for public rallies this week to give him a mandate to fight "terrorism and violence."
General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt's defense minister, has called for nationwide rallies on July 26 to support the military's stand against what he called "violence and terrorism."

The military chief led the ouster of Islamist President Muhammad Morsi on July 3 following massive public protests against his government.

In a televised speech on July 24, Sisi called on Egyptians to turn out in large numbers.

"I ask that this Friday all honest and trustworthy Egyptians come out. But why come out?" Sisi said. "To give me the mandate and order that I confront violence and potential terrorism."

Morsi is being detained by the military at an undisclosed location.

Since he was removed from office, Morsi's supporters have clashed violently both with security forces and anti-Morsi demonstrators.

An estimated 200 people have been killed.

Sisi pledged to follow a political road map that promises new elections in six months and opens a way for reforming the constitution.

"I feel that someone wants to lead this country into a dangerous tunnel. When Egyptians took to the streets in the millions, the army obeyed and enforced their will," he said. "Nobody should think that the road map that we presented and the procedures that we took can be withdrawn."

In response to General Sisi's speech, pro-Morsi Islamists on July 24 called for mass anticoup protests for July 26.

U.S. Delays Jet Sale

In Washington, the Pentagon announced on July 24 that the Obama administration is delaying a planned sale of four F-16 fighter jets to Egypt due to the current situation in the country.

Pentagon press secretary George Little says President Barack Obama made the decision to hold up the sale. Little said the administration has decided to proceed with an annual U.S.-Egyptian military exercise, named Bright Star.

Separately, Egyptian state television said a car bomb exploded near a police training center in the Sinai Peninsula, killing three "terrorists."

Nile television said the explosion took place in the city of El-Arish, in the northern Sinai, where violence has escalated since Morsi was deposed.

The three suspected militants were killed when their explosives-laden car blew up, apparently prematurely.

Earlier, security officials said gunmen killed two Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai on July 24.

The officials said one soldier died after gunmen fired at a checkpoint near the north Sinai town of El-Arish.

Another soldier was shot dead several hours later in an attack on an army vehicle in El-Arish.

With reporting by AP, AFP, Reuters, and dpa
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