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Egypt’s foreign ministry slams CNN over terrorism report

The ministry says that a CNN report about the apparent execution of a Croatian hostage by militants was full of misinformation and lacked objectivity

Ahram Online , Friday 14 Aug 2015
Tomislav Salopek
Croatian hostage Tomislav Salopek
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Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs slammed on Friday a report published on CNN about the political and security situation in Egypt, describing it as “unprofessional” and “lacking objectivity.”

On Wednesday, the US-based TV network published an article on its website reporting that Croatian hostage Tomislav Salopek had been apparently beheaded by Islamic State-affiliated militants in Sinai, after a photo allegedly showing his dead body was circulated on IS-affiliated Twitter accounts that day.

The CNN report mentioned that Egypt was facing multiple crises including jihadist threats and economic challenges. The report also said Egypt had failed to combat terrorism and that ISIS-affiliated group Sinai Province group, formerly known as Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, was gaining more control in Sinai.

It also added that Egypt's power in the Middle East had recently declined. 

“This report lacks the minimal degrees of objectivity and neutrality where it including misinformation,” said foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu-Zeid in a statement.

“The report claimed the spread of chaos, terrorism and lack of state authority in Egypt in an ironic way removed from objectivity, professionalism and integrity,” he added. 

“The areas witnessing terrorist attacks in Sinai represents only five percent of the total Sinai Peninsula, which is totally secure,” said Abu-Zeid, adding that foreign media in general and CNN in particular as a popular news network should highlight Egyptian efforts against terrorism instead of “belittling” them. 

“CNN decided to turn the spotlight on the victim instead of the victimiser in this critical time when Egypt is fighting against terrorism on levels whether official or popular or intellectual or religious.” 

The spokesman expressed his astonishment at how CNN had “promoted” the “absence of the state” in Egypt, while it had not promoted the same thing in the Western countries that had faced similar terrorist attacks, such as the Charlie Hebdo killings in France and the Boston marathon bombing in the United States. 

He also criticised the international community for its “slowness” in responding to Egypt’s call to unify the international efforts in counterterrorism and the necessity of not distinguishing between the terrorist organisations regardless of their different names or areas of operation. 

Abu-Zeid gave an example of how the international coalition against the Islamic State group was only focusing on the Levant while terrorism was flourishing in Libya.

Although Sinai Province group has claimed that it beheaded the Croatian engineer on Wednesday after his abduction in July, Egyptian officials say that there had been no official confirmation that he has been executed.

Sinai Province group, formerly known as Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, pledged allegiance to the IS group in November of last year.

The group has killed hundreds of security personnel in North Sinai and other areas. The group has also claimed responsibility for the deadliest attacks against police and army forces outside Sinai including the bombing of Cairo security directorate in January 2015 and the attempted assassination of the former minister of interior in Cairo in 2013.

The security forces have killed hundreds of militants in the peninsula.

Egypt designated Ansar Beit Al-Madqis a terrorist organisation in 2014.

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