Sunday,17 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1371, (30 November - 6 December 2017)
Sunday,17 December, 2017
Issue 1371, (30 November - 6 December 2017)

Ahram Weekly

MPs denounce terrorist tragedy

Parliament urges the government to quickly pay compensation to families that lost members in Friday’s terrorist attack, reports Gamal Essam El-Din 

 MPs denounce terrorist tragedy
MPs denounce terrorist tragedy

In an urgent plenary session convened on Monday MPs denounced the 24 November terrorist attack at Al-Rawda Mosque in North Sinai which left 305 worshippers dead and 128 injured. 

Speaker Ali Abdel-Aal said he had ordered the Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee to speed up discussions of a law providing compensation to the families of victims of the attack. Abdel-Aal also told MPs he had received assurances from acting Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouli that the government will do everything possible to facilitate the payment of compensation to the victims’ families. 

“This is a moment for action to help the bereaved families,” said Abdel-Aal. “The government has promised courts in the city of Arish will help families access all the legal documents necessary to obtain compensation.” 

“Parliament will lend whatever support is necessary to the army and police as they crack down on terrorist groups and rid Egypt of their evil.” 

MPs from North Sinai have requested a meeting with Minister of Defence Sedki Sobhi to discuss security-related issues in the governorate.

“Terrorists were able to hit a mosque on a Friday. Next time they might hit a school,” said North Sinai MP Gharib Hassan. “Citizens want to tell Sobhi there should be more coordination between the army and police in fighting terrorist groups in North Sinai.” 

North Sinai MPs want a parliamentary delegation to visit Al-Rawda Mosque next week and perform Friday prayers in a show of solidarity. They say a visit to the area was proposed two years ago but has been indefinitely postponed for security reasons.

“I think it is high time a parliamentary group visits North Sinai and listens to the grievances of citizens there,” says MP Hassan. 

“These terrorists do not discriminate among religions. Their goal is to spread chaos and drive a wedge between the Egyptian people and its army and police,” said Abdel-Aal. 

“All Egyptians must stand united until we all defeat these dark forces.”

“There are thousands of mosques in Egypt and it is almost impossible for the army and police to safeguard each one. But the public can help prevent terrorists from targeting mosques and churches by cooperating with the police and army.”

Mohamed Al-Sewidi, head of the pro-government Support Egypt bloc, said he had received assurances families would receive compensation quickly. “The family of each person killed will be given LE200,000, while LE50,000 will go to the families of those injured.” 

In addition, said Al-Sewidi, the Support Egypt bloc is donating LE5 million to the families of the victims. He also revealed the government had allocated LE50 million to develop Bir Al-Abd city.

MP Mustafa Bakri argued that while compensation could provide relief in the short term, the government should offer “a martyr’s pension” to the families of those killed to cover long-term needs. He also demanded that amendments to the criminal procedures law currently being discussed by the Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee should clearly state that terrorists be tried before military courts and, if convicted, be handed capital sentences. “

The attack on Al-Rawda Mosque clearly showed that terrorists in North Sinai continue to receive help from foreign countries and intelligence agencies, claimed Bakri. 

Bahaaeddin Abu Shoqa, head of the Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee, said MPs are keen to complete debates on two laws, one compensating families of the victims of terrorist attacks and the second strengthening penalties for terrorist-related crimes. 

“In the wake of this tragic incident we need to move quickly in assessing how this attack could happen,” said left-leaning MP Diaaeddin Dawoud. “We need to ask why the army and police failed to foil the attack.” 

In response, Abdel-Aal said “army and police cannot be deployed everywhere in Egypt.”

“There are thousands of mosques and churches in Egypt and they cannot all be guarded around the clock.” 

“They have suffered heavy losses and setbacks in recent weeks and so decided to target the mosque to break the will of the army and police,” Abdel-Aal said.

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