Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Sunday accepted the resignation of the Minister of Defense and head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, and appointed him presidential adviser.
Tantawi chaired the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which ruled the country after the downfall of the Hosni Mubarak regime and the ahead of the elections that led the Muslim Brotherhood to power. At the age of 76, Tantawi served as minister since 1991.
Chief of Army Major Sami Anann, No. 2 at SCAF, also has been dismissed.
Morsi appointed Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, ex-chief of service of military intelligence, as the new defense minister.
Lieutenant-General Sidki Sayed Ahmed will serve as the Army Chief of Staff.
A senior judge, Mahmoud Mekki, was appointed vice president.
Morsi also ordered the retirement of the commanders of the navy, air defense and air force.
The retired navy commander, Lieutenant-General Mohan Mameesh, was selected to be chairman of the Suez Canal.
Morsi also decided to cancel the constitutional decree published by the army before his election, which gave expanded powers to the military.
Last week, Morsi fired the country's intelligence chief, Maj. Gen. Murad Mowafi, and the governor of Northern Sinai, Abdel Wahab Mabrouk, following the Sinai attack at a checkpoint near Egypt’s border with Israel and Gaza Strip, in which 16 Egyptian soldiers were killed.
In related news, according to the ongoing operation targeting terrorism in Sinai, Egypt's armed forces are preparing to raid Mount "El Hallal" in the Sinai to remove armed elements from there, a military official in Cairo said on Saturday. According to him, this operation will take time because the armed elements had time, in recent years, to establish shelters there.
These comments came after the meeting of the Supreme Council of Egyptian armed forces, which was held last night under the chairmanship of Morsi. It was devoted to discuss the developments in Sinai and following the inspection visit by Morsi Friday in the area of El Arish.
Mount El Hallal near the border is well known in the Sinai desert. It extends from the Fallujah area, near the Suez Canal to the south and to the north near the town of El Arish and central Sinai to the Negev desert. It consists of numerous caves, some of which are 150 meters high. Paths and trails are known only to the Bedouins who live there. Armed elements estimated at more than 3,000 have taken refuge there with the help of certain tribes.