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Egypt launches major security shake-up after ambush

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A handout picture released on October 4, 2016 shows Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (C), Defense Minister Sedki Sobhi (L) and Chief of Staff Mahmoud Hegazy (R) listening to the Egyptian national anthem in Cairo. (Photo by AFP)

Egypt has replaced its armed forces chief of staff and several officials filling top security posts following a militant attack in the northeast that claimed 16 law enforcement agents.

A statement from the presidency said Saturday General Mohamed Farid Hegazy would replace General Mahmoud Hegazy who was made President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s adviser for strategic planning and crisis management.

The Interior Ministry also announced that it had replaced the head of homeland security, assistant to the minister for security in Giza Province, the director of Giza’s security and director of operations for central security.

The attack, for which no side has yet claimed responsibility, took place in a western desert area in Giza. The police carried out a retaliatory raid on Friday, killing 13 militants.

Giza lies near North Sinai Province, which has also witnessed numerous militant attacks, including by terrorists belonging to the offshoot there of the Daesh Takfiri terror group. Daesh is mainly active in Iraq and Syria, where it is drawing its last breaths after around three years of waging bloodshed and destruction.

The attacks by its Velayat Sinai branch started after Sisi overthrew Egypt’s first democratically-elected President Mohamed Morsi in a coup in 2013. The coup exacerbated the troubles the country was already facing in the face of chronic militancy.

Various militant outfits operating in the country have gone from strength to strength amid a steady flow of arms from neighboring Libya since 2011, when former Libyan ruler Muammar Ghaddafi was killed during an unrest backed by NATO members. Hundreds of members of the Egyptian security apparatus have been killed in militant attacks since that year.

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