Pentagon offers assistance to investigate Egypt attacks
US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has offered assistance to Egypt to help investigate recent bomb attacks in the country.
In a telephone call on Sunday to Egyptian army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Hagel expressed his condolences for the victims of a wave of bomb attacks in Egypt, a Pentagon spokesman said in a statement.
The call came after a bomb exploded outside an Egyptian army building north of capital Cairo on Sunday. The Egyptian army said it was a terrorist attack but did not blame any group for the incident.
Hagel also “stressed the role of political inclusiveness,” and the two top officials discussed “the balance between security and freedom,” spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said in the statement.
“Secretary Hagel also expressed concerns about the political climate in advance of the constitutional referendum, including the continued enforcement of a restrictive demonstrations law,” Rear Admiral John Kirby said.
Egypt has been under a military-backed government since July, when former president Mohamed Mursi, the first elected Egyptian president, was ousted after days of violent street protests.
Since July, Cairo has been a scene of clashes between supporters and opponents of the Brotherhood. Officials have warned Egyptians against participating in protests in support of the group, the nation’s best organized political force until this summer’s crackdown.
Street clashes have killed at least seven people in the last three days.
A referendum is now planned for mid-January on a new constitution, followed by parliamentary polls and a presidential election.