Egyptian political parties condemn Sinai 'terrorism', stress support for army

Ahram Online , Saturday 25 Oct 2014

The Wafd Party called for the forced evacuation of some parts of North Sinai, while the official trade union federation wants to see 'Brotherhood elements' sacked from their jobs

Egypt`s president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi attending on October 25,2014 honorary funeral of the 31 soldiers who died in the deadly attack of the Sinai Peninsula (Photo: Courtesy of military spokesperson)

Egyptian politicians stressed their support for the country's military and its fight against militant violence in Sinai after attacks in the peninsula on Friday killed 31 soldiers.

Statements from political parties and public figures on Saturday ranged from calling for international cooperation against what they described as terrorism, to demanding a temporary evacuation of the area where the attacks took place.

No militant group has yet come forward to claim responsibility for the car bomb or the subsequent shooting that killed 31 soldiers and injured at least 30 on Friday, although Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, a jihadist group active in Sinai, has in the past claimed responsibility for many similar attacks. 

The right-of-centre Free Egyptians Party said in a statement that the situation should be dealt with as an all-out war against Egypt and its army, and thus justifies any necessary exceptional measures in the region to combat all sources of terrorism.

The party also declared its unconditional support for all actions taken by the Egyptian army and security apparatuses to pursue the "predators".

On the other hand, the left-of-centre Constitution Party said in a statement that while they fully support the armed forces in their fight against terrorism in Sinai, they are asking the authorities for more transparency in discussing the situation in the restive peninsula.

The statement added that after over one year of continued army confrontations and the loss of many army and police personnel, information should be provided to the public on the reality of the situation. They also called for an investigation into the attack, and the reasons behind the large death toll as well as holding officials responsible for any failures.

Former Arab League head Amr Moussa, currently a prominent Egyptian politician, has called on all Arab countries "to work together to fend off terrorism from our region" in a statement on his official Facebook page.

The Salafist Nour Party called on the political authorities to show firmness and decisiveness in rooting out "terrorist elements" who planned, financed or carried out the attacks. They called for "such criminals" to be delievered to justice as an example to others who think they can attack Egypt's security.

The Popular Socialist Alliance Party called on the Egyptian people to exercise patience and on the army to view it as a comprehensive battle on all fronts to fulfill the revolution's demands of eliminating terrorism, as well as achieving freedom and justice.

The liberal Wafd Party, however, called on the army to adopt new measures as temporarily evacuating the border stretch from North Sinai's Rafah to Sheikh Zuwaid of inhabitants. The party suggested the inhabitants move to a suitable accommodation while the army "purge" the area of terrorists.

In an official statement, the Egypt Freedom party also expressed its condolences to the entire Egyptian people.

The liberal party, founded by former parliamentarian Amr Hamzawy, stated its support for the Egyptian armed forces in their fight against Sinai militancy.

The party called for public unity to eliminate terrorism and "to hold the terrorists accountable."

In its comments, the National Association for Change demanded a comprehensive revision of the security strategy in Sinai and the rest of the country.

Ahmed Taha El-Nuqr, the group’s spokesman, said in press statements Saturday, that "the Egyptian people will continue their fight against terrorism and will go on establishing a modern civic democratic state, despite the militant attacks by takfiri elements."

He demanded that armed forces personnel be given advanced training and high-tech weapons and equipment to be able to counter the terrorism threat.

Public bodies also weighed in on the topic. State body the National Council for Human Rights called on all countries of the world to stand by Egypt in its fight against terrorism.

"[Terrorism] is a phenomenon that surpasses borders, and affects the safety and security of the region and the entire world," the statement read.

The official body the Egyptian Trade Union Federation issued a statement Saturday mourning the victims and asserting the "need to purify all institution from Muslim Brotherhood elements who seek to destroy production facilities and cut water and electricity supply."

The statement called on "honourable Egyptian workers" to stay vigilant in detecting those Brotherhood elements, to protect the country.

Egyptian authorities have designated the Brotherhood a terrorist organisation, blaming it for ongoing militant attacks in Sinai and elsewhere since the other of the Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi from the presidency last year. Brotherhood officials have denied any link with violence. 

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, in remarks on Saturday after a meeting with top military figures, blamed the deadly attacks on foreign parties, saying that Egypt is experiencing an "existential war."

Late on Friday, El-Sisi declared a state of emergency in North Sinai, accompanied by a curfew in some areas of the governorate from 5pm to 7 am.

A militant insurgency by jihadist groups in the peninsula has become more active since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013. Hundreds of police and soldiers, as well as militants, have been killed.

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