Abdullah Abdel Hamid, a professor at Al-Azhar University and Salafist preacher, described Egyptian government officials as "enemies of God," following their late statements about eradicating millions of locusts who stormed several of Egypt's governorates in the last few weeks, Al-Watan newspaper reported on Friday.
"Locusts embody a gift from God to humans living on Earth; how dare they say such things?" Abdel Hamid said at a Friday sermon in the Egyptian canal city of Suez.
Abdel Hamid argued that no "police or military troops" could stop the locusts, as "God's will" cannot be challenged.
Since January, swarms of the insects — originating from Sudan — have been spotted along the Red Sea coast in south-eastern Egypt, north-eastern Sudan, Eritrea and Saudi Arabia.
In 2004, Egypt witnessed one of the most serious locust infestations in recent history, when farmers in 15 out of the country's 27 governorates suffered extensive crop damage.
At the time, the Land Centre for Human Rights, a local NGO devoted to agriculture issues, reported that 38 percent of the nation's crops had been damaged as a direct result of the arrival of locusts.
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), one tonne of locusts eat the same amount of food in a single day as around 2,500 people.