File Photo: Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed forces with President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi standing a moment of silence for the 31 martyrs of Sinai ahead of their meeting on October 25, 2014 (Photo: Courtesy of SCAF Facebook page)
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi issued a decree on Saturday to create a unified military command for the east of the Suez Canal to combat terrorism two days after a series of militant attacks killed at least 30 people in the restive Sinai peninsula.
The new unified command structure will be led by General Osama Roshdy Askar. lt will guide counter-terrorism activities of the Second and Third army.
The decision comes as the president held a meeting with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).
Askar was promoted to lieutenant-general on Saturday as he assumes his new responsibilities.
Askar will continue to serve in his current capacity as commander of the Third Army, which is overseas for Suez and South Sinai.
General Mohamed El-Shahat is the commander of the second army, which overseas North Sinai and a number of Delta governorates.
Askar was born in 1957 in the governorate of Daqahlia in the Nile Delta.
He graduated from the military school in 1970 and joined the infantry division.
He holds an masters degree in military sciences and is married with three children.
Scores of Egyptian soldiers were killed in coordinated militant attacks in North Sinai on Thursday night. An exact death toll has not been confirmed by military officials, but media reports suggest at least 30 died in the attacks, including a number of civilians.
Speaking about the death toll, Tariq Khater, undersecretary for North Sinai in the health ministry, told Ahram Online that only the military can issue an official death toll.