Defence Minister and Chief of the Armed Forces chief General Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi extended his condolences to the families of the victims of a suicide attack in North Sinai which killed 11 soldiers on Wednesday morning.
In recorded and later televised comments, delivered upon the arrival on Wednesday evening of the slain soldiers' caskets at Almaza military air-base in Cairo, El-Sisi said that the attack would only increase the [government's] determination to fight back against those who use weapons against the military, the police and the state.
"People should know we are all ready to die in order for Egypt to stay alive," he said.
Early Wednesday, a bomb-laden car collided with a bus, part of a military convoy, on the road between Al-Arish and Rafah in North Sinai. Eleven off-duty soldiers were killed in the explosion, while 37 were injured. Seven of the injured are in a critical condition.
General El-Sisi was shown on state TV comforting the fallen soldiers' families, accompanied by Egypt's army chief of staff Lieutenant General Sedki Sobhi and Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim.
"We do not fear, because we know if we fall while defending our country we will be martyrs; we will stand like martyrs in front of God," said El-Sisi.
The restive peninsula has seen a surge in attacks blamed on Islamic militants that targeted security in almost daily assaults since the ouster of Mohamed Morsi. Attacks on security and army targets in the Sinai region have killed tens of personnel since July.
Wednesday's attack is the bloodiest since mid-August when gunmen killed 25 police conscripts in an ambush on a security convoy in Rafah.
"Everyone who used weapons against the military and the police is a terrorist who want to crush his own people. We are there to fight this and be killed for this aim," El-Sisi said.
Dozens of militants have been killed since the army began a campaign to flush out "terrorists" and seize or destroy arms caches in the Sinai region.
"God only knows the pain in our souls," El-Sisi said in ending his speech.