By MAGGIE MICHAEL
A friend of Ammar Badie, 38, killed Friday by Egyptian security forces during clashes in Ramses Square, and also son of Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual leader Mohammed Badie, shouts, “Allah is the greatest,” while attending his burial in Cairo’s Katameya district, Egypt, Sunday, Aug. 18, 2013. Egypt increased security at the Supreme Constitutional Court building ahead of planned mass rallies by supporters of the country’s ousted President Mohammed Morsi. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)
CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s military leader vowed Sunday that the army will not allow further violence after the deaths of hundreds in days of political unrest, while still calling for the political inclusion of Islamist supporters of the country’s ousted president.
Defense Minister Gen. Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi, who led the July 3 coup that toppled President Mohammed Morsi, again said the army has no intention of seizing power in the Arab world’s most populous country.
El-Sissi’s comments came during his first appearance since a deadly crackdown Wednesday on two encampments of Morsi supporters left hundreds dead and sparked days of violence across the country.
“We will not stand by silently watching the destruction of the country and the people or the torching the nation and terrorizing the citizens,” he said in comments quoted on state television and posted on an official military Facebook page.
The general said that the military didn’t seek power but instead “have the honor to protect the people’s will — which is much dearer (than) ruling Egypt.”
El-Sissi called for Islamists to be included in the country’s politics moving forward. A military timetable calls for the nation’s constitution to be amended and for presidential and parliamentary elections to be held in 2014.
“We have given many chances … to end the crisis peacefully and call for the followers of the former regime to participate in rebuilding the democratic track and integrate in the political process and the future map instead of confrontations and destroying the Egyptian state,” he said.
El-Sissi made the comments at a gathering of top military commanders and police chiefs.