Friday,24 November, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1238, (19 - 25 March 2015)
Friday,24 November, 2017
Issue 1238, (19 - 25 March 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Safe as houses

Experts praise the security surrounding the Egypt Economic Development Conference. Ahmed Morsy reports

Safe as houses
Safe as houses
Al-Ahram Weekly

Interior Minister Magdi Abdel-Ghaffar has praised the efforts of all sectors of his ministry in securing last week’s three-day economic summit in Sharm El-Sheikh.

“The discipline, precision and high morale with which the security plan was executed exemplify the way the police spare no effort in the defending the nation. They understand the great responsibilities placed on their shoulders,” Abdel-Ghaffar said during a Sunday meeting with senior aides and security officials.

“The successful security operation shows the homeland has strong men, capable of protecting their country from violence, vandalism and terrorism, and willing to sacrifice their own lives for the redemption of the nation.”

Securing a conference that aimed to show Egypt is now open for business after four years of instability was never going to be an easy task. Yet, in coordination with the army, the Interior Ministry managed just that.

Throughout the week the Interior Ministry placed all departments on high alert and all holidays were cancelled until the end of the conference.

“The preparations were impressive,” security expert and former deputy head of the National Security Apparatus Major General Fouad Allam told Al-Ahram Weekly. “I congratulate my colleagues for their performance and the vigilance which resulted in an international event of which each and every Egyptian can feel proud.”

Though thousands of policemen, supported by soldiers from the Second and Third Armies, were deployed in Sharm El-Sheikh during the conference and armoured vehicles and helicopters monitored all roads in and out of the resort city, the security plan was not limited to Sharm.

“All of Egypt’s governorates were secured. Security checks were increased, and the most advanced technologies used to head off any threats,” said Allam. The successful coordination between the police and army, Allam added, was further reinforced by the important role played by Sinai’s tribal sheikhs.

“Sinai’s tribes worked alongside security forces in an unprecedented way to ensure the mountainous areas surrounding Sharm El-Sheikh were safe,” he said.

On Monday Minister of Defence Sedki Sobhi met with the heads of several Sinai tribes. Sedki praised their support to protect the homeland and the help they have offered security forces to root out terrorism and restore stability to Sinai.

Police and soldiers have been targeted by militant jihadist groups since the ouster of Mohamed Morsi in 2013. Sinai-based Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, which recently pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) group, has claimed responsibility for most of the attacks against security targets.

According to South Sinai’s security director, General Hatem Amin, 260 surveillance cameras were installed in the streets of the coastal city. “The cameras, which will provide 24-hour monitoring, are directly linked to the system and operations room of South Sinai Security Directorate,” says Amin.

Security expert Khaled Okasha praised the way the security operation in Sharm El-Sheikh was carried out with minimum disruption to the lives of residents and tourists. “The army was deployed throughout Sharm El-Sheikh days ahead of the conference and tightened the security grip without any restrictions on citizens.”

“The Interior Ministry passed the security test with flying colours. It was able to perform its duties to the fullest to safeguard Egypt’s guests,” said Okasha.

In the days leading up to the conference, bomb attacks in both Cairo and Alexandria increased. Though the majority of explosions were small in scale they appeared to signal a switch in the terrorists’ tactics, away from targeting security personnel and towards targeting civilians.

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