Egypt Orders Military to Use all Force to Secure Sinai

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS PAPER ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Egypt Orders Military to Use all Force to Secure Sinai

Wednesday, 29 November, 2017 – 10:45
Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat

Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi stated on Wednesday that it was the responsibility of the military to restore security and stability in the Sinai peninsula within the next three months.

He ordered the army command to use all force necessary to secure the area, following a militant attack on a mosque last week that killed more than 300 people.

The president made his demand while addressing the new chief of staff Major General Mohammed Farid Hegazy in a speech marking the Prophet Mohammed’s birthday.

Hegazy was appointed last month.

“You can use all brute force necessary,” urged Sisi without elaborating.

No group has claimed responsibility for Friday’s mosque attack, but Egyptian forces have been battling a stubborn ISIS affiliate in the North Sinai for more than three years and militants have killed hundreds of police and soldiers.

The massacre, which took place as worshippers were praying in a village mosque on Friday, was the deadliest terrorist attack in Egypt’s modern history.

On Tuesday, Egyptian authorities said security forces have killed at least 14 extremists in Sinai and an adjacent Suez Canal province following Friday’s attack.

The Interior Ministry said 11 of the suspected militants were killed in a shootout on a farm in Ismailia province. Six suspects were arrested there.

Military spokesman Colonel Tamer el-Rifai added that three suspected extremists were killed in central Sinai. He did not elaborate.

Egyptian President Sisi Declares 3 Month State Of Emergency Following Church Bombings

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES)

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declared a three-month state of emergency in Egypt following twin church bombings that killed dozens of people in two cities on Sunday.Sisi announced the “state of emergency for three months” in a defiant speech at the presidential palace after a meeting of the national defence council.

The Islamic State group had claimed responsibility for the church bombings in the Nile Delta cities of Alexandria and Tanta in which at least 44 people were killed.

The attacks followed a Cairo church bombing in December and came weeks ahead of a planned visit by Catholic Pope Francis intended to show support for the country’s Christian minority.

At least 78 people were wounded in Tanta and another 40 wounded in Alexandria, the health ministry said.

Egyptian officials denounced the violence as an attempt to sow divisions in the country, while Francis sent his “deep condolences” to Tawadros.

IS claimed that its “squads” carried out both attacks, in a statement by its self-styled Amaq news agency published on social media accounts.

Images broadcast by private television stations showed bloodstains smearing the whitewashed walls of the church in Tanta next to shredded wooden benches.

“The explosion took place in the front rows, near the altar, during the mass,” General Tarek Atiya, the deputy to Egypt’s interior minister in charge of relations with the media, told AFP.

“I heard the blast and came running. I found people torn up… some people, only half of their bodies remained,” said Nabil Nader, who lives in front of the Tanta church.

The worshippers had been celebrating Palm Sunday, one of the holiest days of the Christian calendar, marking the triumphant entrance of Jesus to Jerusalem.

– String of attacks –

Prime Minister Sherif Ismail also condemned the attack, stressing Egypt’s determination to “eliminate terrorism”.

The Cairo-based Al-Azhar, an influential Sunni Muslim authority, said it aimed to “destabilise security and… the unity of Egyptians”.

Egypt’s Copts have endured successive attacks since Morsi’s ouster in July 2013.

More than 40 churches were attacked nationwide in the two weeks after the deadly dispersal by security forces of two pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo on August 14, 2013, Human Rights Watch said.

Amnesty International later said more than 200 Christian-owned properties were attacked and 43 churches seriously damaged, adding that at least four people were killed.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who as then army chief helped remove Morsi, has defended his security forces and accused jihadists of attacking Copts in order to divide the country.

In October 2011, almost 30 people — mostly Coptic Christians — were killed after the army charged at a protest outside the state television building in Cairo to denounce the torching of a church in southern Egypt.

In May that year, clashes between Muslims and Copts left 15 dead in the working-class Cairo neighbourhood of Imbaba where two churches were attacked.

A few months earlier, the unclaimed bombing of a Coptic church killed more than 20 people in Egypt’s second city of Alexandria on New Year’s Day.

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