President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi has claimed that foreign forces are behind the deadly attacks that left at least 30 security personnel and troops dead on Friday.
“Foreign groups have plotted the terrorist attack in Al-Arish to break the will of Egyptians,” he said, addressing the nation on Saturday.
Al-Sisi made clear in his address that these foreign forces are aiming to divide the people and the armed forces.
“We had a choice – either the people or the army have to confront terror. We chose that the army carry out the mission,” Al-Sisi said, referring to the events following the removal of former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi.
Al-Sisi’s address came after he headed a meeting with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) in which senior officials were tasked with investigating the Sinai attacks that took place yesterday.
At the end of his speech, Al-Sisi acknowledged the efforts of the armed forces and stressed that it if was not for the work of the military in Sinai, the peninsula would have turned into a “cluster” of terrorism.
“I have noted before that the war in Sinai will last for a long time, as there are a lot of terrorists hiding in the peninsula, but this new level of attacks has put us in a new level of planning too, in order to combat the terrorism there.”
At least 30 security personnel were killed in the two attacks in Sinai, the deadliest ever since the upturn in unrest and violence in the peninsula following the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last year.
The assaults started with a car bomb that went off at the Qaram Al-Qawadis security checkpoint in in Sheikh Zuweid. Hours later gunmen opened fire at a checkpoint in Al-Arish, the local capital of North Sinai.
On Friday the president issued a decree declaring a state of emergency for three months in some parts of North Sinai.
The decree also imposes a curfew for three months in a number of North Sinai areas from 5 pm until 7 am.