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Middle East

Sisi meets Egypt army brass to quit ahead of poll: report

(FILES) A picture taken on February 13, 2014 shows Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi smiling during a meeting with Russian Defence Minster in Moscow. AFP PHOTO / VASILY MAXIMOV

CAIRO: Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was in a meeting with the top military brass Wednesday at which he was expected to resign ahead of a likely presidential bid, state media reported.

Interim president Adly Mansour later joined the meeting, after returning from an Arab League summit in Kuwait, the military said.

Before starting the meeting with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Sisi gathered his belongings at his office in the defence ministry, the official newspaper Al-Ahram reported on its website.

The wildly popular field marshal, who is also defence minister, must resign from the army before running for the presidency.

Sisi is easily the country's most popular political figure after he overthrew the divisive but freely elected Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July. He is widely seen as winning the election, which is expected to be held before June.

Underscoring the challenges facing him, at least one person was killed Wednesday in clashes between pro-Morsi students and police, the health ministry said.

Sisi is riding on wave of nationalist fervour and demands for a firm leader who can restore stability after more than three years of turmoil following president Hosni Mubarak's overthrow.

But supporters of Morsi will likely escalate protests.

At least 1,400 people, mostly Morsi supporters, have been killed in violence since the Islamist president's overthrow.

 

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