Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi appointed on Thursday head of his office Abbas Kamel as the new acting chief of the country’s General Intelligence Service (GIS), until a new chief is named to replace Khaled Fawzi.
A presidential decree issued on Thursday did not detail the reasons behind sacking Fawzi, who led the office of GIS chief since 2014. However, local news outlets predicted that Fawzi had health problems and was currently under medical treatment.
Fawzi’s sacking came few days after a report was published by the New York Times, alleging that it obtained recordings of phone calls where an alleged Egyptian intelligence officer is heard instructing talk show hosts to convince their audience to accept Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.
Egypt later denied the report.
Other unidentified reports spoke on Thursday about the intersection of roles and conflicts between state security apparatus, particularly in the department of public information.
The decision to sack Fawzi is considered the second highest shake up that lately touched a sensitive position in Egypt.
Last October, Sisi named a new armed forces chief of staff and announced changes in key security positions.
Kamel is Sisi's chief of staff. He also was the president’s assistant when Sisi was head of the military intelligence in Egypt.
In a separate development, the Egyptian president held talks in Cairo Thursday with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn over the expansion of cooperation at the economic level between the two countries.
Following their meeting, Sisi announced “establishing an Egyptian industrial zone in Ethiopia,” in addition to cooperation at the level of agricultural investments.
Sisi expressed concern over the lack of progress in negotiations of the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
“Based on our recognition of the importance of the continuity of the technical studies of GERD, Egypt is suggesting the participation of the World Bank at the tripartite discussions on GERD as a neutral [actor],” Sisi said.