Egypt's Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayeb (Photo:Reuters)
Egypt's Al-Azhar condemns on Saturday recent assaults on military personnel and sites in the Sinai Peninsula saying that "an attack on Egypt's brave soldiers is an attack on its national security."
In an official statement on Saturday, Egypt's highest Islamic institution Al-Azhar called on everyone to protect Egypt's security and stand against all attempts to "turn the army away from its national duty."
The statement asserted the sanctity of human life and stressed an Islamic stance against bloodshed, citing verses from the Quran and Prophet Mohamed's teachings.
The Sinai Peninsula has witnessed increasing confrontations between militants and Egyptian army forces since the ouster of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi on 3 July. After president Hosni Mubarak was ousted on 11 February 2011, the area also saw militant attacks on gas pipelines.
Jihadist groups are centralised in Sinai and are believed to be wreaking havoc in protest over the ouster of Islamist president Morsi.
Late on Friday, unidentified armed men opened fire on four military checkpoints in Rafah and Al-Arish in North Sinai. No deaths have been reported.
Earlier on Friday, a policeman was killed in a militant attack at a checkpoint in Sinai.
Last week, at least ten policemen were killed in Sinai in separate attacks.