Egypt’s army chief General Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi has vowed on Sunday to continue fulfilling “the people’s mandate to confront terrorism,” in a speech marking the 40th anniversary of the country’s military victory in the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.
“We are responsible before God to continue fulfilling the mandate, we will protect Egypt and the Egyptians, this is a promise,” Sisi was quoted as saying at Cairo’s Air Defence Stadium where he spoke late Sunday.
“We are keen to be the guardians of this order and mandate,” he added.
At least 53 people were killed and more than 246 wounded on Sunday as Egyptian security forces clashed with supporters of ousted former President Mohammad Mursi, security and television sources said.
Mursi supporters were protesting in several cities to show their displeasure of the military’s overthrow of the former president, while thousands took part in the military celebrations.
Taking part in the festivities, al-Sisi and interim President Adly Mansour attended a fireworks extravaganza late on Sunday at the military-owned stadium in eastern Cairo.
In July, the military ousted and jailed Mohammad Mursi, the Muslim Brotherhood affiliated president, following nationwide protests asking for his resignation.
The authorities have since launched a crackdown on his supporters arresting over 200 Muslim Brotherhood members including top figures.
The interior ministry had warned on Saturday against “attempts that may disturb the October 6 celebrations in Egypt,” state news agency MENA quoted it as saying.
“The ministry asserts its determination to firmly confront all violence and infringements of law by the Muslim Brotherhood supporters through their marches.”
In his speech, Sisi spoke about the Egyptian people’s relationship with the army reiterating the popular statement “the Egyptian people and the army are one hand”.
“The military is as strong as the pyramids because of the people,” he added.