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Bearing red flowers, Egypt's newly sworn-in president Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi on Wednesday apologized in person to a woman who was sexually assaulted by a mob during weekend celebrations marking his inauguration, a gesture that is likely to bolster the career soldier's popularity.Sexual harassment has long been a problem in Egypt, but assaults have increased dramatically both in frequency and ferocity in the three years since the ouster of longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. State television showed a visibly moved el-Sissi visiting the woman in a Cairo hospital.Sunday's assaults coincided with el-Sissi starring in carefully choreographed ceremonies held at two of the capital's most opulent presidential palaces and attended by hundreds of local and foreign dignitaries.El-Sissi, already seen by many Egyptians as a strong leader who can restore stability after three years of unrest, may win over even more supporters by taking a stand on the issue of sexual harassment and violence.Other activists were skeptical of el-Sissi's commitment to the issue, recalling the military's "virginity tests" on a group of women protesters detained in 2011 .
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