“Confronting terrorism is not the task of the armed forces; this is the task of the Ministry of the Interior,” Egyptian Defence Minister Field Marshal Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said in a leaked recording.
Al-Sisi added: “We do not have encounters with people here [in Egypt], because the army is a killing machine and not a machine for detention. We do not know how to detain.
“Fighting terrorism is not the task of the armed forces. Our task is to preserve Egyptian national security and protect the borders. The police do their job to deal with civil affairs such as fighting crime and terrorism.
“When you tell soldiers go in here and do something, what will they do? Have we trained them to do this? They will strike and continue to strike. What can they do? Children, teens and old people will be killed.”
He referred to the attacks in Upper Egypt in the 1990s saying: “When there was terrorism in the 1990s in Upper Egypt and the armed forces were asked to play a role, this was refused.”
In the recording, which goes back to the days when Morsi was president and which was aired by Al-Jazeera TV Channel on Thursday evening, Al-Sisi says: “I tell senior officials this all the time. We do not say such things in the media because it is unnecessary and people will not understand.”