Egyptian presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq's campaign headquarters boasted on Saturday that more than 40 years ago the former Air Force chief had shot down two Israeli planes, as it dismissed accusations of corruption, AFP reported.
Shafiq, former President Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister before an uprising toppled the dictator last year, claimed to have downed the planes during the War of Attrition which Egypt declared between 1969 and 1970.
An Ahram center poll estimates 19.9 percent of Egyptians would vote for Shafiq.
"General Ahmed Shafiq has a great military record and career," AFP quoted his campaign statement as saying.
"Everyone recognized his achievements, starting with the downing of two Israeli planes during the War of Attrition, when the member of parliament [who accused Shafiq of corruption] was maybe three years old," it said.
What Shafiq's campaign didn't point out, however, is that according to U.S. intelligence estimates, during Shafiq's pilot days during that war, Egypt lost 109 aircraft, most in air-to-air combat. Israel, by comparison, lost a total of only 16 fighter jets, most due to anti-aircraft batteries or surface-to-air missiles.
Lawmaker Essam Soltan had accused Shafiq of selling land at below market price to Mubarak's sons, who face trial with their father on corruption charges.
AFP reports polls showing Shafiq finishing in third place in the May 23 and 24 presidential election, which will begin a power transfer by Egypt's military rulers to the elected president.