Egypt's military chief: Army to confront violence

Photo: The Associated Press

CAIRO (AP/WJLA) - 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.

And on Monday in Egypt’s northern Sinai, east of the Israeli border, security forces are on high alert while they search vehicles and homes following the shooting of 25 off-duty police officers by Islamic militants.

But throughout Egypt – even in areas experiencing relative calm – there is unease.

In the city of Gaza, it’s the silence that’s causing concern. The streets and shops near the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx, usually bustling with tourists, are completely deserted. An Arabic carriage driver says business is so bad that he can’t even feed his horse.

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.

Meanwhile, locally in Northern Virginia, Jennifer Cate runs ‘Hands Across the Nile,’ a nonprofit helping Egyptians with job training programs, micro loans, and one unique program in particular that produces gift bags and cards handmade out of recycled trash by the daughters and wives of garbage collectors. It’s just one more way to try and put food on the table.

“Just in the last two years it has gotten harder and harder to make ends meet -- things have gotten more expensive you know, it's hard just to be able to afford just to buy bread,” explains Cate.

In fact, bread and food subsidies and handouts have become yet another way for warring factions to try and win the support of average Egyptians.