Sisi says Egypt has carried out airstrike on terror camps; sources confirm location is Libya

Ahram Online , Friday 26 May 2017

Egypt's president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said in a televised speech following the terrorist attack on Christians in Minya on Friday morning, that an airstrike against a terrorist training camp was being carried out as he spoke.

He added that "Egypt will not hesitate in striking any camps that harbour or train terrorist elements whether inside Egypt or outside Egypt," adding that Friday's attack, which saw 28 Copts killed by armed gunmen, will not pass easily.

El-Sisi said that a strike was being launched targeting a camp that had been a source of terrorists who had carried out attacks in Egypt, without specifying the location.

The Egyptian armed forces released a short video which was shown on state television after El-Sisi's speech. The voiceover said that upon the directions of the president, the airforce had carried out a strike against terrorist gatherings in Libya "after confirming their involvement in planning and committing the terrorist attack in Minya governorate on Friday."

The strike is still ongoing, the army video said.

Senior sources had earlier told MENA agency that the strike mentioned by the president targeted terrorist militant group camps in Darna, eastern Libya.

"We are preserving our security and saving our people," he said, adding that such attacks are a price that is being paid for “real freedom”, and for preventing Egypt from falling into the hands of extremism and terrorism.

El-Sisi directly addressed the American president Donald Trump, saying: “Your Excellency, I trust your ability to wage war on terrorism as your first priority, with the cooperation of the whole international community, that should unite against terrorism.”

He added that “all countries that support terrorism, should be punished, without any courtesy or conciliation."

"If Egypt falls, the whole world will be in chaos,” he said. “We are waging a war on behalf of the world."

He also referred to the Egyptian strategy to fight terrorism that was outlined during the Arab-Islamic-American summit in Riyadh earlier this month, calling on other countries to adopt it.

The president said that the target of such terrorist groups is to topple the Egyptian state and break apart Egyptian society, by creating religious strife between Muslims and Christians.

He said that recent attacks aim to make people believe that Christians are not secure in Egypt, and that the government is not protecting them, referring to efforts to "destroy our economy and our peace."

El-Sisi also said that he warned security bodies a few months ago that terrorist militants  who had left Aleppo in Syria would come to Egypt.

The president stressed the huge efforts that have been taken to fight terrorism. He said that Egypt had destroyed 300 vehicles trying to cross the border from Libya while bringing “evil” over the past two months.

The president, who expressed his condolences to the Egyptian people for "the martyrs who fell among Egypt's sons," concluded by saying that Egypt’s national security is the responsibility of security bodies, himself and all Egyptians, and that “we should move to fight these terrorist ideas.”

Twenty-eight Christians were killed and 23 injured in the armed attack on buses carrying them to a St Samuel’s monastery in Upper Egypt’s Minya governorate on Friday morning.

No group has yet claimed the Minya attack, which is the latest in a series of deadly attacks on Egypt’s Christians.

On 9 April, two suicide bombers targeted St George's Church in Tanta and St Mark's Cathedral in Alexandria, killing and injuring dozens in the deadliest attack against civilians in the country's recent history. A total of 29 people died in the Tanta explosion and 18 in Alexandria.

Cairo imposed a nationwide three-month state of emergency after the April bombings, with the option to extend for another three months dependent on a parliament vote.

Coptic Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt's population of 92 million.


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