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Suleiman Warns Against War with Israel if Brotherhood Wins

Egypt's former intelligence chief warns that a Muslim Brotherhood win in the presidential elections will lead to war with Israel.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 4/16/2012, 4:43 AM

Omar Suleiman
Omar Suleiman
Reuters

A day after he was barred from the Egyptian presidential race, the country’s former intelligence chief warned Sunday against a win by the extreme Muslim Brotherhood.

Former intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, who was appointed by ex-President Hosni Mubarak as vice president in the dying days of his administration, was one of ten candidates who were barred from running in the May election on Saturday.

The Presidential Elections Commission (PEC) excluded Suleiman allegedly on the basis of the geographical distribution of the signatures on his candidacy registration, according to the daily Al-Masry Al-Youm.

The regulations call for a candidate's application to include a minimum of 1,000 signatures from 15 separate governorates in order to qualify for the race.

On Sunday, according to a report on IDF Radio, Suleiman expressed his fear that Israel will have to invade the Sinai Peninsula if the Muslim Brotherhood ends up winning the presidential election.

The report cited an interview Suleiman gave to an Egyptian newspaper and in which he said, “I fear that incorrect judgments will push us into confrontations with Israel. The Sinai may become an area from which rockets are fired into Israel and the parties may be drawn into war.”

The Islamist Muslim Brotherhood named Khayrat el-Shater, its chief strategist and financier, as a candidate for president earlier this month, despite earlier pledges to stay out of the race.

The Brotherhood, outlawed during the Mubarak regime, already controls about half of the seats in parliament.

Shater, however, was also disqualified from the race along with Suleiman. Shater, released from prison in March 2011, was disqualified on the basis of a law stating candidates can only run for office six years after being pardoned or freed.

Meanwhile, terrorism is already on the rise in the Sinai Peninsula, as has been the case since Mubarak’s ouster. On Sunday, two Egyptian soldiers were killed and two others were wounded by radical Salafi Islamist terrorists in the region.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu commented earlier this month that the region is rapidly becoming a “rocket launching pad for terrorists,” in addition to having already become a hideout for terror cells. Israel is building a security barrier in an effort to deter attacks.

Suleiman told the Egyptian newspaper he intends to appeal the decision reject his candidacy. Suleiman was given 48 hours to appeal the decision.