A former Egyptian lawmaker who threatened on a popular TV show that Americans would be "slaughtered in their homes" if an attempt is made on the life of the country's military chief has recanted, saying his comments were misconstrued.
The January 13 comments by Mostafa Bakry, a well-known journalist with close ties to the military, created a buzz on social media this past week but drew no comment from the nation's military-backed government.
Bakry based his comments about killing Americans on what he called a conspiracy led by the United States to assassinate the military chief, General Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi.
"There is a plan, which the security apparatus knows about very well, to assassinate el-Sisi, and it involves both internal and external players," Bakry told Imad Adeeb, host of the talk show Quietly!, which is aired by the private, pro-military channel CBC. "And at this time, all of Egypt will take up arms against the traitors and criminals all together and they will be slaughtered in their homes."
Though he did not identify his sources, Bakry said he was "100 per cent sure" of the plot's existence, saying that a similar plan had been behind the assassination of Pakistani politician Benazir Bhutto. "If anything at all happens to el-Sisi, there won't be an American on this earth we will leave in peace, here or abroad," he said.
On Sunday, however, Bakry backtracked.
"I am opposed to any violence, including any violence against US citizens, and I would like to make it clear that we have no enmity with or hostility towards the American people at all," he said in a statement distributed by Egyptian officials.