Egyptian leader dismisses army chiefs
Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi has dismissed the head of the armed forces, Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi and the Chief of Staff General Sami Annan.
President Mursi explained that the removal was for "the benefit of this nation".
"The decisions I took today were not meant ever to target certain persons, nor did I intend to embarrass institutions, nor was my aim to narrow freedoms…I did not mean to send a negative message about anyone, but my aim was the benefit of this nation and its people,” president Mursi said.
The army chiefs assumed presidential powers after the fall of Hosni Mubarak.
However, Field Marshal Tantawi, 76, has not yet indicated whether he accepts the moves.
President Mursi's move was triggered by an attack in the Sinai which saw 16 Egyptian soldiers killed. It also seems clear that other members of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Scaf, gave their approval.
Defence Minister General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, has replaced Field Marshal Tantawi as both armed forces chief and defence minister.
President Mursi has also appointed as Vice President, Mahmoud Mekki, a senior judge who fought for judicial independence under Hosni Mubarak.
Analysts say the dismissal of senior military officers will be seen by Egyptians as a decisive move in a struggle for real power between the country's newly elected politicians and the generals who have exercised power for many years.