Egypt: Sinai Attack Was Foreign Funded 10/25 08:25
CAIRO (AP) -- Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said Saturday that an
assault on an army checkpoint in the Sinai Peninsula that killed 30 troops was
a "foreign-funded operation" and vowed to take drastic action against militants.
In thundering remarks delivered before cameras ahead of a military funeral
for the slain troops, el-Sissi said there are foreign powers that want to
"break the back of Egypt," without elaborating. He vowed to take drastic
measures to uproot the militants and said Egypt is engaged in an "extensive
war" that will last a long time.
"There is a big conspiracy against us," he said while standing with army
commanders ahead of the funeral.
Militants launched a complex assault on the checkpoint Friday that involved
a car bomb possibly detonated by a suicide attacker, rocket-propelled grenades
and roadside bombs placed to target rescuers.
Egypt declared a state of emergency and imposed a 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew in
the restive northern part of the peninsula after Friday's assault, the
deadliest against the army in decades.
No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but it bore the
hallmarks of the extremist group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, which has carried out
several attacks on security forces since the military overthrew Islamist
President Mohammed Morsi last year amid massive protests against him.
El-Sissi said the aim of the attack was to "break the will of Egypt and the
Egyptians as well as the will of the Egyptian army, which is considered a
pillar of Egypt."
He called on Egyptians "to be aware of what is being hatched against us" and
to be "vigilant and steadfast with the army and the police."
"All that is happening to us is known to us and we expected it and talked
about it before July 3," he said, referring to the day last year when he
overthrew Morsi. At the time el-Sissi was defense minister and army chief.
He claimed some success in the fight against militants, saying "dozens of
terrorists have been killed in the past weeks and months... hundreds of
terrorists have been liquidated."
Islamic militants have been battling security forces in Sinai for a decade,
but the violence spiked after Morsi's overthrow. The attacks have also spread
to other parts of Egypt, with militants targeting police in Cairo and the Nile
The militants have portrayed the attacks as retaliation for a sweeping
crackdown by security forces in which hundreds of Morsi supporters have been
killed in street clashes and some 20,000 people have been arrested.
The government has blamed much of the violence on Morsi's Muslim
Brotherhood, which it blacklisted as a terrorist group last year. The
Brotherhood, which renounced violence decades ago, has condemned the attacks
and denied any involvement.