Egypt’s new prime minister says security was his top priority

CAIRO: Egypt’s new prime minister said today that security was his top priority, as police and soldiers have faced near daily attacks since the July ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

In his first address to the nation, Ibrahim Mahlab, a former member of the party of toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak, said Egypt faced ‘challenges that are like mountains,’ but vowed to confront them with transparency and firmness.

Mahlab said in a televised speech the first priority is to impose security, counter terrorism firmly and legally, and restore stability by preserving human rights and democracy.

Yesterday, Mahlab unveiled a new 31-member cabinet that retained Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as defence minister, after the previous government made a surprise exit amid mounting criticism over the battered economy and major industrial strikes.

Since Morsi’s overthrow, Islamist militants have carried out scores of deadly assaults on security forces and bombed a tour bus in what was seen as an attack on one of the country’s top revenue generators.