Profile: Egypt armed forces chief Abdul Fattah al-Sisi
The head of Egypt's armed forces, Gen Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, has been in the post for less than a year, and has now been instrumental in the downfall of the man who gave him the role
When President Mohammed Morsi appointed Gen Sisi as general commander of Egypt's armed forces and defence minister on 12 August 2012, it was seen as an attempt to reclaim political power from the military, which had seized control after President Hosni Mubarak was ousted.
But it was Gen Sisi who warned Mr Morsi of another army intervention if the government failed to respond to "the will of the people", following nationwide protests. And two days later, on 3 July, he announced on state TV that Mr Morsi "did not meet the demands of the masses".
In the months after his appointment, Gen Sisi maintained a calm public persona. Far from a stern military figure, he is a charismatic presence, often seen smiling and known for delivering speeches on emotive topics. During an address at a concert in April, some of the artists on stage with him broke down in tears.
After his ultimatum to the government and its opponents to resolve the country's crisis within 48 hours, army helicopters threw thousands of Egyptian flags over protesters in Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square.
The cheering crowds responded with chants of "the people and the army are one hand".Virginity tests
His popularity among anti-Morsi protesters is evidence of a significant shift in Gen Sisi's public image.
In April 2012 he hit the headlines after issuing a statement intended to defend the behaviour of the armed forces during protests in Tahrir Square in 2011.
When soldiers violently cleared Tahrir Square on 9 March, 17 women were detained, beaten, prodded with electric shock batons, subjected to strip searches, forced to submit to "virginity tests" and threatened with prostitution charges.
Gen Sisi said "the virginity-test procedure was done to protect the girls from rape as well as to protect the soldiers and officers from rape accusations", according to the state-owned newspaper, al-Ahram.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf) quickly distanced itself from the comments, but the incident remained a stigma for the military.
Later, during a meeting in Cairo in June 2012, Gen Sisi promised the human rights group, Amnesty International, that the army would no longer carry out the controversial tests. He said people alleging human rights abuses at the hands of the army should complain to the military prosecutor and stressed the importance of ensuring social justice for all Egyptians.Military career
Born in Cairo on 19 November 1954, Gen Sisi served in the infantry corps after graduating from the Egyptian Military Academy in 1977.
Despite never gaining any combat experience - like Field Marshal Tantawi and other Scaf members - he nevertheless rose up the ranks in the army, specializing in commanding mechanised infantry and eventually heading a division of such troops. He was also in charge of information and security at the general secretariat of the Defence Ministry and served as Egypt's military attache in Saudi Arabia.
Later, Gen Sisi served as chief-of-staff and then commander of the Northern Military Zone, headquartered in Alexandria, before being appointed director of Military Intelligence and Reconnaissance.
Prior to being promoted to head of the armed forces, he sat on the Scaf as the former head of Military Intelligence, and was one of its youngest members.Strong US ties
Following his appointment as defence minister and armed forces chief, many commentators in the Egypt media asked questions about Gen Sisi's relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, from which President Morsi hails.
The pro-military owner and leading presenter of the TV station al-Faraeen, Tawfiq Ukasha, accused him of being "their man in Scaf", and reports also emerged that his wife wore the niqab, a full-face veil worn by some Muslim women.
However, the Scaf insisted that its members had no partisan or ideological affiliation to any political forces in Egypt.
Mutaz Abdul Fattah, a professor at Cairo University, also said Gen Sisi did not belong to the Muslim Brotherhood, writing on Twitter: "He is not a member of the Brotherhood; he is just a religious man."
In August 2012, the newspaper al-Tahrir also reported that Gen Sisi had "strong ties with US officials on both diplomatic and military levels".
He had studied in Washington, attended several military conferences there, and engaged in "co-operation with regard to war games and intelligence operations in recent years", it said.