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Interior Ministry Reinstates Department to Monitor Religious Activity

[Mosque of Sultan Qalawun in Al Muuizz Street , Cairo, Egypt. Image originally posted to Flickr by Al Hussainy Mohamed] [Mosque of Sultan Qalawun in Al Muuizz Street , Cairo, Egypt. Image originally posted to Flickr by Al Hussainy Mohamed]

Departments whose role it is to combat terrorism and monitor religious activity will be reinstated in the National Security Agency, Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim said in a press conference Saturday.

Ibrahim attributed the “extremist religious activity” the country is currently witnessing to the disbanding of certain departments, lost in the “non-technical” structuring of the National Security Agency in the wake of the January 25 revolution.

The State Security apparatus, notorious for committing human rights abuses under Hosni Mubarak’s rule, was disbanded in 2011 to be replaced by National Security by then interior minister Mansour al-Essawy, who vowed at the time that it would uphold principles of human rights.

Pointing to the importance of “political security,” Ibrahim said he has ordered the reinstatement of these departments.

“Does it make sense not to have departments monitoring terrorist activities in Sinai?” he said at the press conference.

Ibrahim revealed that he has ordered the reinstatement of officers who had been excluded in the process of disbanding the State Security apparatus.

The Interior Ministry held a press conference presenting its account of the clashes between security forces and Mohamed Morsi supporters in Nasr City, which left dozens dead in the early hours of Saturday.

Ibrahim said protesters attacked security forces with live ammunition and pellets as security forces tried to disperse them with tear gas as they headed towards October Six Bridge.

Ibrahim’s claims were verified by initial findings of the general prosecution’s investigations, which show that Morsi’s supporters initiated the attack, state news agency MENA reported Saturday.

Ibrahim denied the use of live ammunition and said that police had only used tear gas to disperse protesters. He said that Brotherhood members are responsible for igniting the clashes to gain sympathy.

In his comments, Ibrahim said the ministry is coordinating with the Armed Forces to fully disperse sit-ins at Rabea al-Adaweya and Nahda Square, where supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsi are camped demanding his return.

Ibrahim said the sit-ins would be dispersed in light of complaints filed by local residents to the general prosecution.

The interior minister also said there had been reports of torture taking place in the sit-ins, adding that ten people had been reportedly tortured at Rabea al-Adaweya, three of whom died as a result.

The Interior Ministry is awaiting decisions from the general prosecution with regards to the complaints filed against the sit-ins, before it acted, Ibrahim said.

[This article originally appeared on Mada Masr.]

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