Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi led on Tuesday a military funeral procession for former defence minister Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawy who died at the age of 85 and extended condolences to his family.
The funeral was held at El-Mousheer Tantawy Mosque in New Cairo.
Tantawy was head of the military council that ruled Egypt after president Hosni Mubarak’s resignation in 2011 and served as defence minister for more than 20 years.
“Egypt lost Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawy, the former general commander of the Armed Forces and minister of defence and military production, who was one of its most loyal sons and a military symbol who served his country for more than 50 years,” read a presidential statement.
“Tantawy was one of the heroes of the glorious October War, who contributed to the making of the greatest acts of heroism … and a statesman who ran the country in a most difficult time, confronting with wisdom the dangers that surrounded Egypt,” the statement added.
Inaugurating a number of national projects for the development of the Sinai Peninsula in an event held in Suez governorate on Tuesday, El-Sisi said Tantawy “led the country wisely in the most difficult circumstances and played a key role in protecting Egypt.”
“This great man was the real reason Egypt [did not] fall at that stage,” El-Sisi said in reference to the turbulent days of 2011-2013.
“When the elections took place and all the indicators were pointing to a certain faction in Egypt winning, he [Tantawy] said ‘I will go down in history as the one who handed this country over to this [faction],’ a matter that hurt him a lot, because he was aware of the damage that Egypt would see as a result of these circumstances,” El-Sisi said.
El-Sisi cleared Tantawi from some bloody incidents that took place after the ouster of Mubarak.
“Field Marshal Tantawy … was not responsible in the bloodshed that took place in the events of Mohamed Mahmoud, Maspero, or the Port Said Stadium and any other conspiracy to tear down the state,” El-Sisi stated, adding that his testimony on these issues was “a testimony for history.”
“I hope that God will reward him well for everything he accomplished while assuming all the positions he held,” El-Sisi noted.
Tantawy graduated from the Military Academy in 1956 and later from the Command and Staff College.
He fought in several wars 1967 War, the War of Attrition, and the 6 October 1973 War, serving as the commander of a combat unit in the infantry.
Tantawi served as the commander-in-chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces and was minister of defense and military production between 1991 and 2012.