Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi said that Egypt will continue working to cleanse the Sinai Peninsula of terror cells until all threats to the nation’s security are eliminated.
Speaking on Friday morning to journalists and politicians in Cairo, Morsi confirmed that Egypt is working in conjunction with non-Egyptian forces, including Palestinians, in what he termed a “surgical operation” to combat potential terror threats from the northern Sinai. He pledged that the mission will continue and that he will not allow anyone to threaten Egyptian security.
On August 5, a terror attack originated in the area when Islamist terrorists opened fire on an Egyptian military base in Rafah, killing 16 soldiers. The terrorists then commandeered an armored personnel vehicle (APV) and a truck and sped towards Kibbutz Kerem Shalom. The truck exploded at the border, and the Israeli air force destroyed the APV.
Since that attack, Morsi has dismissed several top military and intelligence officials from their posts, including Defense Minister Mohammed Hussein Tantawi and Chief of Staff Sami Anan earlier this week.
On Friday, Morsi emphasized that while both Tantawi and Anan received medals for their years of service to Egypt, they are not immune to possible repercussions resulting from the attack at Rafah.
Terror attacks originating in the Sinai have become increasingly common as Muslim extremists have taken advantage of the power vacuum left after the ouster of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.
Last week Israel gave Egypt permission to deploy extra troops, tanks and attack helicopters in the peninsula in an attempt to crack down on terrorist groups in the region.