CAIRO — Egypt’s powerful army chief left open the possibility of running for president in elections due next year, according to excerpts of an interview published Tuesday, as he gave his first account of his overthrow of the country’s Islamist president.

Since the July 3 coup that removed President Mohammed Morsi, there have been growing calls from the military’s supporters for Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to run to replace him. Previously, a military spokesman denied el-Sissi had political ambitions. The interview with the newspaper Al-Masry al-Youm was the general’s first direct comment on the issue.

“I think the time is inappropriate to raise this question in light of the challenges and risks that the country is going through,” he said when asked if he would run, according to excerpts posted on the newspaper’s website Tuesday.

He said attention must not be distracted from carrying out “the map for the future” for a post-Morsi transition, “which will create a new reality that is hard to evaluate now.”

Then he was silent and added, “God gets His way.”

El-Sissi, the defense minister and head of the military, removed Morsi after a massive wave of protests against the Islamist leader demanding his ouster and accusing his Muslim Brotherhood of seeking to dominate Egypt. El-Sissi said in the interview that he repeatedly urged Morsi to compromise with his opponents and be more inclusive.

Since then, the military-backed interim government has cracked down on the group, accusing top leaders of incitement and murder, rounding up some 2,000 members and killing hundreds of pro-Morsi demonstrators.

Officials and allied media have depicted the Brotherhood and its Islamist allies as a threat to the nation, presenting the crackdown against them as a fight against terrorism. There has been an escalation of violence by Islamic militants — many from groups allied to the Brotherhood — with massive attacks targeting security forces in the volatile northern Sinai and other parts of the country.

At the same time, officials and media have fanned pro-military nationalist sentiment, depicting el-Sissi and the army as saviors of the country — further fueling calls for him to run. The military backed transition plan calls for the amending of the Morsi-era constitution, then for presidential and parliamentary elections to be held early next year.

In its latest move at dismantling the sprawling Brotherhood organization, banned by a sweeping court order last month, the government Tuesday revoked the permit of the association the group founded earlier this year to give itself a legal face.

In an earlier part published Tuesday from the three-part interview, el-Sissi gave his account of Morsi’s ouster, saying that Brotherhood leaders had warned him of “terrorist attacks” if Morsi were overthrown.

El-Sissi said the turmoil of the past three months could have been avoided if Morsi had resigned in the face of the protests that drew out millions against him, starting on June 30.

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