The Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi says the country faces a tough battle as it struggles "alone" against insurgents and the terror threat from a Daesh affiliate based in northern Sinai. Egyptian President Sissi warns the "price will be very heavy" in the fight to combat terrorism.
His remarks came shortly after a brazen militant attack, involving a truck bomb, killed at least eight in the Sinai city of el-Arish on Monday. El-Sissi says there are 25,000 troops in that part of Sinai Peninsula, where fighting has raged for years against militants. El-Sissi spoke to the private ONTV network late on Monday.
The Interior Ministry said the militants targeted the checkpoint in the city of el-Arish with a garbage truck filled with explosives but that security forces killed the driver and safely detonated the truck bomb. The ministry released footage showing an attacker driving a white garbage truck and then slumping over after being shot. It said that seven police officers and one civilian were killed and that security forces killed five of the attackers. In addition, six officers, six civilians and three attackers were wounded in the shootout, the ministry said.
The U.N. Security Council condemned the attack, reiterating its position "that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security."
The northeastern Sinai region has been a militant hotspot for several years. Egypt has been roiled by violence and turmoil since the military coup led by the current President el-Sissi. The former President Mohammed Morsi, the country's first freely elected civilian president, has been imprisoned since mid-2013 after he had served only one year in office. Morsi took an unprecedented 52 percent of the votes to become Egypt's first democratically elected president
Those that understood the essence of democracy protested in anger in Rab'aa Square in Cairo for six weeks. The sit-in in Rab'aa was then dispelled by the military.
According to Human Rights Watch, this was the most serious incident of unlawful mass killing in modern Egyptian history and a minimum of 817 people, more likely at least 1,000, were killed in Raba'a Square on Aug. 14. Anyone seen to support the symbol of Raba'a was detained, and anyone who spoke against the coup was seen as a threat to Egypt. In the more than two years since, security forces have killed hundreds and detained tens of thousands of Brotherhood members and Morsi supporters.
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