Thursday,19 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1231, (29 January - 4 February 2015)
Thursday,19 July, 2018
Issue 1231, (29 January - 4 February 2015)

Ahram Weekly

United against terror

President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi has called on the nation to unite against terrorism, promising a tough war ahead, reports Dina Ezzat

Al-Ahram Weekly

President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi is expected to meet in the coming hours with the leaders of the country’s main political parties to discuss what one official source said was the “unification of the national front behind the Egyptian army in the fight against terror.”

In his first public appearance after the deadly terrorist attack in Sinai on Thursday, Al-Sisi said yesterday that there was a tough war ahead to combat terror and that it demanded public support for the president and the engagement of all state bodies, among them the judiciary and media.

He has promised the resilience of the army and the people in the “long and relentless fight against terrorism.”

Speaking following a meeting with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) at its headquarters at the Ministry of Defence in Cairo, the president said that he had never thought the war would be short or easy and that he had always known it could be tough and long.

“Egypt is fighting the most important of all underground organisations in modern times,” he said.

Alluding to but never naming the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Sisi repeated an account shared in previous press interviews of the threats he said had been made to his face by Khairat Al-Shater, second in command of the group that was labelled a terrorist organisation following the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi in summer 2013.

 “He said that they would either rule us or kill us, and the Egyptian people decided that they did not wish to be ruled by them. We [the Armed Forces] decided to risk death [defending that wish],” the president said, flanked by SCAF members.

Al-Sisi was minister of defence during the encounter that took place days before the nationwide demonstrations on 30 June 2013 that called for an end to the rule of Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Al-Sisi said Al-Shater had said that “fighters from all over the world” would flood into Egypt to fight the army if it dared act upon the public wish to remove Morsi.

The Thursday attack left what official statements said were 30 people dead, mostly army conscripts, and 80 wounded.

In his statement on Saturday afternoon, the president called on the media to report only the official army accounts, arguing that this was the way things have always been “during times of war”.

He called on the judiciary to take “necessary measures” in response to the war on terror.  

The president, who has seen three consecutive attacks against army conscripts and soldiers, two in Sinai and one in Damietta, said that he was acting in accordance with the wishes of the people to combat terror. He said he would continue to do so even if he had “to die fighting.”

The president added that the attacks were designed to set Egypt back and to frustrate the conference on the economy that the country is planning to host in mid-March. He insisted that “this will not happen and the economic conference will convene as scheduled”.

In a press conference on Thursday, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb reviewed preparations for the economic conference.

During his meeting with the SCAF, the president announced the appointment of General Ossama Askar, now appointed to field-marshal, to supervise military activities in Sinai, where a more aggressive war on terror would be conducted east of the Suez Canal zone.

Al-Sisi returned to Egypt yesterday evening after an abrupt end to his visit to the Addis Ababa headquarters of the African Union where he had been heading the Egyptian delegation to the African Summit. The deadly terrorist attack in Sinai occurred on Thursday evening, hours after Al-Sisi left for Ethiopia.

On Friday afternoon the SCAF met, ahead of the return of the president, to examine the situation.

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