Egypt President awards retired spy chief with one of state's highest awards

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has awarded the country's intelligence chief one of the state's highest awards after ordering his retirement.

Gen. Mohammed Farid el-Tohamy, a longtime mentor of el-Sissi, was seen as a hardliner in the government crackdown against Islamists and secular dissidents that followed the military ouster of President Mohammed Morsi.

The military-backed government had brought el-Tohamy out of retirement, ordered by Morsi, installing him as intelligence chief.

No reason was given in the presidential decree sending el-Tohamy to retirement. Security officials said that el-Tohamy, in his mid-60s, was retiring for health reasons. It is not clear if el-Tohamy's removal reflects a change in policy.

El-Sissi awarded el-Tohamy the Republic Award in his office Sunday. El-Sissi swore in his replacement, Maj. Gen. Khaled Fawzy, as acting intelligence chief.