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Friday, August 10, 2012

Egypt’s President says he is leading Sinai military operation

Egyptian military troops in Sinai

Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsy said after Friday prayers that he is leading the ongoing military operation and is in charge of it. He headed to the region and is closely following the developments hour by hour, according to his statement.

Mohamed Morsy added also that the security operation will continue in Sinai until the situation will stabilize. He called on the citizens to stand together against anyone who will harm the country’s security and stressed that the mutual respect between citizens and military and police is needed. Morsy stated that anyone who will break the law and threat the state’s security must be punished, and the President is responsible for it. And the people in their turn have to demand granting the security from the military and police as there is their main task. “Justice is my responsibility”, Morsy said following the Friday noon prayers in Hosary Mosque in 6th October City, close to Cairo.

The additional army forces and police troops were deployed in Sinai after Israeli approval, which is needed under the terms of 1979 peace treaty signed between the two neighboring countries. The deadly attack on Sunday which left 16 Egyptian soldiers dead was a serious threat to Egyptian security and stability and was resulted in a massive military offensive in attempt to fight the militants responsible for the attack. The following series of the clashes at the border checkpoints and police stations in Sinai, close to El-Arish and Rafah, demanded more decisive actions, and Egyptian military forces committed one of the biggest and most serious military operations since the time of Arab-Israeli war, using the ground forces and air craft.

Egyptian army reported nearly 20 terrorists were killed during the offensive, and the operation is continuing in order to detect those who are hiding in the region, possibly in the desert and in the mountains, where the militants’ bases could be allocated. The security forces report also about the series of arrests of the suspected persons in Sinai.

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy
During the meeting with the representatives of the local Bedouin tribes on Thursday the tribal leaders agreed to fully cooperate with Egyptian military and security forces to restore security in the lawless Sinai Peninsula. There was also the consensus among the Bedouin tribes to destroy the underground tunnels connecting Egypt with the neighboring Gaza and used for the smuggling. The militants and representative of different jihadist and terrorist groups also used those tunnels to infiltrate Egypt from Gaza. After deadly Sunday border Attack Egypt’s Defense Minister Hussein Tantawy ordered to destroy the tunnels, and the special forces were also deployed for the demolition works. The military source praised today the support and cooperation of the Sinai people.

Egypt’s state TV reported also that it had been decided to reopen the Rafah crossing, which was closed before, but in the direction of Gaza only.

The Egyptian Interior Minister stressed that his forces and the military would defeat the militants with the help of the local Bedouin tribes, and the mission will surely succeed.

A military source also said that there are ongoing preparations for the raid on Gabal Al-Halal, where the militants were entrenched. But to fully purging Sinai of criminal activity and terrorist threat will take a long time, because those groups were established more than year ago and have already created the network and the bases where they can hide. The massive military offensive conducted in Sinai by Egypt’s Military and Security forces and headed by President Morsy will continue in the region in attempt to restore the peace, security and stability in Sinai.