File Photo: Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi (Reuters)
Speaking on the occasion of the 36th anniversary of Sinai's liberation from Israeli occupation, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said the peninsula today faces renewed threats from terrorist groups.
"It's obvious to everyone that the greed in Sinai has not ended, and while the threats have changed in nature, their seriousness has not decreased," the president said in a speech broadcast on TV.
He referred to what he called "fierce attacks by terrorist groups backed and financed by countries and organized entities" over the past few years.
Egypt on Wednesday commemorates the 36th Sinai Liberation Day, which marks the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Sinai Peninsula in 1982 after a 15-year occupation. The day is a national holiday.
During his speech, El-Sisi praised Egypt's armed forces and police for their efforts to "besiege terrorism and tighten the screw on it."
He said maintaining the security and stability of Egypt in "a difficult region and a turbulent world amidst lack of security around us, sectarian and political division, bloodshed and the collapse of states" is a " testament to the uniqueness and strength of this people and the capacity of its armed forces and institutions."
In February, Egypt launched a major counter-terrorism initiative -- Operation Sinai 2018 -- by the army and police against “terrorist and criminal elements and organizations.”
The campaign focuses on Sinai but also covers areas of the Nile Delta and Western Desert.
Dozens of "takfiris" have been killed and hundreds other suspects arrested in the offensive.