December 21, 2014 / 12:36 PM / 3 years ago

Egypt retires hardline intelligence chief

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's intelligence chief, who took office in mid-2013 after the overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Mursi, has been retired from the job, the presidency said on Sunday.

No reason was given in a statement for the departure of Mohamed Farid al-Tohamy, who had been a consistent advocate of the fierce security crackdown on Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood that has seen hundreds killed and thousands jailed.

The state-run news portal Al-Ahram said Tohamy, who is in his 60s, was retired for health reasons. Khaled Fawzy, a senior official in the intelligence agency, will temporarily assume Tohamy's duties, the presidential statement said.

"President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has issued a decree to retire Mr Mohamed Farid (al-Tohamy), head of general intelligence, and issued a decree awarding him the Order of the Republic of the first degree in recognition of his efforts throughout his career," it said.

Sisi previously served with Tohamy in military intelligence and as army chief orchestrated Mursi's ouster after mass protests against his rule.

Sisi has promised to eradicate the Brotherhood. The crackdown has lately expanded to include liberal and secular activists, including some of the leading figures in the 2011 popular uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Mursi was freely elected in 2012 and ruled for a year.

Reporting by Shadi Bushra; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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