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Influential Egyptian general Mohamed el-Assar dies of illness

Close ally of Sisi and minister of military production receives grand funeral on Tuesday attended by the president
Assar, 74, had led Egypt’s international arms deals since 2002, including those with the United States, Russia and France (Reuters)

Egypt’s minister of military production, Mohamed el-Assar, one of the country’s most influential army figures, died on Monday at the age of 74. 

Local media said he died as a result of a long illness.

President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and senior government figures participated in Assar’s funeral on Tuesday, wearing masks as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus.

Born on 3 June 1946, Assar was a high-ranking member of the Egyptian armed forces and a close ally of Sisi, who promoted him last month to honorary lieutenant-general.

Assar has served as minister of military production from 2015. Prior to that, he was the head of the Armed Forces Armament Authority and a foreign relations adviser to the minister of defence.

Assar has led Egypt’s arms deals with foreign countries since 2002, including those with the United States, Russia and France. 

He was also a prominent member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which briefly ruled Egypt after the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in 2011. 

In his capacity as a member of SCAF, he was among the top military generals who backed Sisi’s military coup against his democratically elected predecessor Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

It remains unclear who will succeed Assar as minister of military production.