Egypt’s former chief of the army staff, Sami Anan, a likely contender in the upcoming presidential elections, has said he survived an attempt on his life in Cairo.
According to Anan, the attempt occurred earlier this week outside the headquarters of his election campaign in the Cairo quarter of Dokki.
He and his campaigners said in press remarks that the would-be assassins had attempted to kill the ex-military figure on Monday as he left the office.
However, police dismissed their allegation. The Interior Ministry, which is in charge of security in Egypt, said investigators went to the area and interviewed local residents, who denied seeing “anything unusual”.
“The ministry’s statement on the incident is strange and hasty,” Anan said. “The assassination attempt by shooting at me is 100 per cent true. I have proof, which I’ll present to investigators,” he told the independent newspaper Al Masry Al Youm. “Such mean attempts will not intimidate me.”
Anan, 66, served as the chief of the army staff under former president Hosni Mubarak, who was forced out of power in a 2011 popular uprising. Anan became the deputy chief of the military council that ruled Egypt for 17 months following Mubarak’s ouster.
The council has been repeatedly criticised for mishandling the post-Mubarak transitional period that was marred by bloody street turmoil and ended in the win of Mohammad Mursi, a Muslim Brotherhood leader, as Egypt’s first democratically elected president.
Anan was appointed by Mursi as his advisor. Mursi was deposed by the army in July last year following wide street protests mobilised by the youth-led Tamarod (Rebellion) movement.
Anan’s detractors accuse him of being backed by the now-banned Brotherhood to stand for president. Anan has yet to officially announce he will contest the election.
“Claims that Anan was the target of an assassination bid are mere attempts to draw attention to him,” said Mohammad Nabawi, the spokesman for Tamarod. “He is trying hard to make a comeback to the political limelight, but he is using obsolete dramatic tricks.”
Widely popular Defence Minister Abdul Fattah Al Sissi, the architect of Mursi’s overthrow, is widely tipped to be the lead contender in the presidential elections, expected in May.