Egypt Attempts To Quash Controversial CBS Interview With President Sissi

Egypt's Sisi says military cooperation with Israel is 'closest ever'

Sisi claims Egypt has 'no political prisoners', in interview that

Egypt has demanded that CBS News not air an interview with Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the United States news outlet has said, in which the country's president said Cairo's military cooperation with Israel had reached unprecedented levels.

Asked if this cooperation with Israel was the closest ever between two enemies that once were at war, he responds, "That is correct..."

However, CBS said the segment, which they dubbed "The interview Egypt's government doesn't want on TV" will be aired on Sunday at 7pm Eastern Time (1200GMT).

The Egyptian army had destroyed 37 cross-border tunnels linking the besieged Gaza Strip and to the country's Sinai Peninsula in 2018, the army announced yesterday.

Egypt has been fighting an insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula for several years, battling an estimated 1,000 Islamic State-affiliated terrorists that Cairo has allowed the Israelis to attack by air.

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Israel and Egypt share a number of regional interests - including the containment of Iran and combating ISIS. According to CBS, Sissi has subsequently demanded that the interview be pulped, apparently over questions about human rights abuses and the deaths of protesters, but the channel has insisted it will be shown nonetheless.

President Abdel Fatah al Sisi held a meeting on Thursday with the ministerial economic committee, in which he discussed the proposed budget plan for new fiscal year 2019/2020. Asked if he gave the order, el-Sisi questioned Pelley's information and then said, "There were thousands of armed people in the sit-in for more than 40 days. We tried every peaceful means to disburse them", he said, claiming more than a dozen guns were found at the protest camp.

Sisi denied that there are about 6,000 political prisoners in Egypt, adding "I don't know where they got that figure".

Human Rights Watch, a global watchdog on rights abuses, said Egypt now has about 60,000 people behind bars on charges that range from spreading fake news to insulting the president. Human rights groups say the former defense chief has since installed a repressive and authoritarian regime. "Whenever there is a minority trying to impose their extremist ideology we have to intervene regardless of their numbers", Mr Sisi said.

CBS did not elaborate further in its press release on the specifics of its contact with the ambassador.

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