Egypt Replaces Top Security Chiefs After Fatal Militant Attack

  • Interior minister replaces head of national security
  • Shakeup comes as government struggles to contain militants

Egyptian authorities replaced the military’s chief of staff and almost a dozen top police officials in a major shakeup after a deadly militant attack on security forces.

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi appointed Lt. Gen. Mohamed Farid Hegazi as the armed forces’ chief of staff, replacing Lt. General Mahmoud Ibrahim Hegazi. The head of the country’s national security agency was also replaced, along with 10 others who held top spots at the Interior Ministry, according to two separate announcements late on Saturday that did not give reasons for the changes.

The reshuffle came after a week of debate playing out in the media, including state-run newspapers, over the circumstances surrounding the Oct. 20 apparent ambush of a security convoy southwest of Cairo. The Interior Ministry said 16 police conscripts and officers were killed, though initial media reports had put the death toll at more than 50. The force was en route to raid a militant hideout when they came under fire with heavy weapons.

Egyptian officials are struggling to stop militant attacks against security targets. While the majority of the violence has been confined to the restive northern part of the Sinai Peninsula, it has on occasion spilled over to Cairo and other main cities. Attacks against Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority in Cairo, Alexandria and Tanta have killed dozens.

Along with the military chief of staff and the head of national security, many of those replaced in the interior ministry oversaw the Giza province where the latest attack took place. The ousted chief of staff was appointed presidential adviser for strategic planning and crisis management.

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