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Egypt's Morsi wields power against army top brass


Egypt

Egypt's Morsi wields power against army top brass

Egypt is starting a new week with a new military leadership after the country’s president Mohamed Morsi wielded power the army had tried to take from him.

A judge, Ahmed Mekky, became vice-president.

General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, was sworn in as head of the armed forces and defence minister to replace Hussein Tantawi – a man long associated with the ousted leader Hosni Mubarak.

Morsi told Tantawi, and the military chief of staff to retire. He also cancelled an army declaration aimed at curbing presidential power.

Seventy-six year old Tantawi had been Mubarak’s defence minister for two decades, and he ran Egypt immediately after the former leader was toppled.

During the uprising protests in Tahrir Square last year demonstrators showed posters depicting the two men as one and the same.

A clash between the new president and the military had been expected, but not so soon.

The shake-up of military top brass came as Egypt’s army continued a major hunt for jihadist militants in Sinai.

They killed 16 Egyptian border guards a week ago before trying to storm the Israeli frontier, threatening relations with Israel.

Morsi, who is a moderate Islamist, has promised to uphold existing treaties with Israel, and sacked the head of Egyptian intelligence last week over the assault.

Security sources say a new push at the weekend killed five militants near the Israeli border, and recovered weapons including mortars and rockets.

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