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Egypt's al-Sisi doesn't rule out election run

| Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, 9:30 p.m.

CAIRO — Egypt's powerful army chief left open the possibility of running for president in elections scheduled next year, according to excerpts of an interview published on Tuesday, as he gave his first account of his overthrow of the country's Islamist president.

Since the July 3 coup that removed President Mohamed Morsy, there have been growing calls from the military's supporters for Gen. Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi to run to replace him. Previously, a military spokesman denied al-Sisi had political ambitions. The interview with the newspaper Al-Masry al-Youm was the general's first direct comment on the issue.

“I think the time is inappropriate to raise this question in light of the challenges and risks that the country is going through,” he said when asked whether he would run, according to excerpts of the interview that were posted on the newspaper's website.

He said attention must not be distracted from carrying out “the map for the future” for a post-Morsy transition, “which will create a new reality that is hard to evaluate now.”

Then he was silent and added, “God gets His way,” according to the excerpts.

Al-Sisi, the defense minister and head of the military, removed Morsy after a wave of protests against the Islamist leader demanding his ouster and accusing his Muslim Brotherhood of seeking to dominate Egypt. Al-Sisi said in the interview that he repeatedly urged Morsy to compromise with his opponents and be more inclusive.

Since then, the military-backed interim government has cracked down on the group, accusing top leaders of incitement and murder, rounding up about 2,000 members and killing hundreds of pro-Morsy demonstrators.

There has been an escalation of violence by Islamic militants — many from groups allied to the Brotherhood.

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