World Bulletin/News Desk
The comments from Sisi, leader of the most populous Arab nation, indicate a growing fear in the region that the division of Iraq could further empower the insurgents who have declared a "caliphate" on land seized in Iraq and neighbouring Syria.
"The referendum that the Kurds are asking for now is in reality no more than the start of a catastrophic division of Iraq into smaller rival states," Egypt's MENA news agency quoted Sisi as saying during a meeting with local journalists.
The president of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish north, Massoud Barzani, asked the region's parliament on Thursday to prepare the way for a referendum on independence.
Iraq's five million Kurds, who have ruled themselves in relative peace since the 1990s, have expanded their territory by up to 40 percent in recent weeks as the Sunni militants seized vast stretches of western and northern Iraq.
"ISIL had a plan to take over Egypt," Sisi said. "I had warned the United States and Europe from providing any aid to them and told them they will come out of Syria to target Iraq then Jordan then Saudi Arabia."
Sisi, Egypt's former army chief, last year orchestrated the ouster of the state's President Mohamed Mursi, who was elected in a free vote, in reaction to mass protests against his rule.
Sisi's interim government that ruled until his election had cracked down on opponents. Thousands of activists and members in Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood group have been jailed since Mursi's ouster last July and hundreds of street protesters were killed.
The Muslim Brotherhood group, the state's oldest and most organised movement, is now banned and declared a terrorist organisation.