General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
Egyptian army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Sunday that the country can eliminate terrorism.
"Egypt with its people and army is capable of uprooting extremism and terrorism,? said Sisi, according to a report on the Daily News Egypt website.
Regarding the upcoming presidential elections, he said, "It is for the free will of the people to decide."
Speculation has been rife that Sisi is soon going to announce his candidacy. He is expected to win easily.
Egypt accused the Muslim Brotherhood of creating a military wing to attack security forces.
The Egyptian Interior Ministry's spokesman announced that the military unit had been discovered, and named 12 people who he said are members. He said the group had shot dead five policemen last month in the province of Beni Suef.
Egypt has branded the Brotherhood a terrorist group, and security forces have cracked down hard since the army toppled Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July.
State television aired what it said was a confession by one of the military wing's members. He recalled meeting a man who he said had offered to teach him and others how to use weapons.
The interim government is accused of stifling dissent, while the army maintains that it is battling terrorism.
In a bid to take control of the country's mosques and make sure Islamists, who oppose the government, are not allowed to incite against it, the Ministry of Religious Endowments decreed that all mosques give the same Friday sermon.
According to a report in the latest edition of Al-Ahram Weekly, mosques began receiving instructions on January 31 regarding the topics to discuss during Friday prayers.
All preachers are required to follow the topics chosen by the ministry, which are posted on its website. Preachers that do not follow the instructions will be replaced.
The purpose of the decree is to avoid political or sectarian issues, according to the report, which stated that the topics chosen for this month deal with the role of youth in building society.
There is opposition to the decree by preachers, who want to express themselves freely.
"I do not think it is the mission of the government to interfere in preaching. I expect that now they will even instruct us to defend their policies in the Friday sermons," said Mahmoud Nakrawy, a preacher from Giza, as quoted by Al-Ahram Weekly.
Meanwhile, Jordan's Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour was scheduled to arrive in Egypt on Monday evening and meet with Interim President Adly Mansour, Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawy, and Sisi, Egypt's Al-Masry al-Youm reported.
According to sources at the Cairo airport quoted by the paper, Ensour is carrying a message from Jordan's King Abdullah addressed to Mansour on the subject of cooperation between the two countries as well as regional issues, particularly the Syrian crisis and the Palestinian issue.Reuters contributed to this report.