Cairo, AP—Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi reshuffled his cabinet on Thursday, replacing the powerful minister in charge of the nation’s police along with six other ministers, state television reported.
Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim, who oversees police, was replaced by another police general, Magdi Abdel-Ghafar, a career officer in the country’s State Security Agency.
Sisi later named Ibrahim an adviser to the prime minister, a largely ceremonial position with little, if any, executive powers.
Ibrahim’s removal followed an uptick in bomb attacks blamed on Islamist militants targeting the heart of the heavily protected Egyptian capital. The latest such attack was on Monday, when a bomb at a police checkpoint killed two people outside the nation’s highest appeal court in downtown Cairo.
On Wednesday, a massive fire destroyed most of the city’s showcase convention center in an eastern suburb. No foul play was suspected, but the fire was interpreted by the president as Ibrahim’s latest failure, according to Egyptian officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
This is the first cabinet reshuffle since Sisi, a solider-turned-politician, took office in June. He led the military ouster of the Islamist Mohamed Mursi in July 2013.
Army and security forces have been struggling to contain a burgeoning Islamist insurgency that has significantly intensified since Mursi’s ouster.
While the army has mostly shouldered the fight against militants in the northern part of the strategic Sinai Peninsula, police have been dealing with terror attacks in mainland Egypt that have lately targeted busy civilian areas.
Ibrahim, who escaped unharmed from a suicide car bombing in September 2013, was named interior minister in January 2013, when Mursi was still president. He and his largely militarized police force sided with the millions who took to the streets in June 2013 to demand that Mursi step down and Ibrahim also later led the harsh crackdown on Mursi’s now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
Sisi on Thursday also replaced the ministers of culture, tourism, education, housing, telecommunications and agriculture. He also introduced a new cabinet portfolio, a minister for vocational training.