Update: From Ethiopia, Sisi vows to avenge soldiers killed in North Sinai

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will cut his visit to Ethiopia short in the wake of attacks in North Sinai that claimed at least 29 lives late on Thursday, according to a statement from the president’s office.

Speaking from Addis Ababa, Sisi said that Egypt was paying the price for fighting terrorism and extremism, the state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram reported.

The country is at war with a fierce secret organization, and it would be paying an even higher price if the Muslim Brotherhood was still in power, he claimed.

Sisi went on to vow he would avenge those who sacrificed their lives for their country.

“This will continue until we succeed — and we will succeed,” the president declared. He also called on the media to raise awareness of the dangers confronting Egypt.

Sisi flew to Ethiopia earlier this week to attend the African Union Summit, where he was scheduled to make an address. The president will head back to Cairo after the opening session on Friday morning, the statement from his office said. In Sisi’s absence, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry will be heading the Egyptian delegation at the summit, the state-owned Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported.

Also on Friday, the Armed Forces announced it was intensifying security operations in Sinai with the help of the police and the support of the Egyptian people, the military spokesperson said in a statement.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) reportedly met to discuss the situation. SCAF affirmed that such terrorist attacks would not deter them from eradicating terrorism, and the military would ensure that Egypt completes its transitional roadmap and regains security and stability, the statement added.

On Thursday night, a series of successive attacks targeted security facilities in the North Sinai city of Arish, killing at least 29 people — including at least 13 civilians — and injuring over 40 others. The series of bombs detonated during the curfew as people were watching a football match between Ahly and Zamalek.

The military spokesperson believed the attacks were in retaliation against the “success of recent security operations by the Armed Forces and police forces against terrorist elements in North Sinai,” he said in a statement.

Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb expressed his condolences for the victims of the attacks, renewing his vows to fight terrorism and urging Egyptians to unite and set aside political differences.

The terrorists are outraged by the “nation’s recovery,” and the fact that Egypt is regaining its position regionally and internationally, Mehleb claimed.

“The closer we get to completing the roadmap, which Egyptians are unanimous on, these terrorists will try to obstruct our path in different ways,” Mehleb said in remarks quoted by the state-owned news site EgyNews.

Since June 30, 2013, Egyptians acknowledged that blood will be sacrificed for the nation to survive, “and here we are paying the price for our nation,” the prime minister continued.

Mehleb exhorted Egyptians to unite for the nation’s best interest, and confront terrorism and extremism.

He also called on the international community, including international human rights organizations, to take note of the sacrifices made in the fight against terrorism and in defense of the entire world. Unless they also confront terrorism, they will fall victim to it, Mehleb warned.

Al-Azhar issued a statement paying condolences to the victims’ families, saying that terrorism will fail in the face of the people’s unity.

Nabil al-Araby, the Arab League secretary general, also condemned the attacks. The Arab League stands behind Egypt in its fight against terrorism, he declared.

Araby called on the international community to confront terrorism and eradicate it from this region and the world, MENA reported. 

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