Update: MB condemns North Sinai attack, calls for army to return to barrack

The Muslim Brotherhood firmly condemned Thursday’s deadly violence in North Sinai on its Arabic and English-language website, while calling for the military to return to its barrack.

In two statements published Friday evening on their English and Arabic-language website, the group expressed its deepest condolences for the families of the victims and the Egyptian people in the wake of the series of bombings and armed attacks that claimed at least 29 lives, adding that all Egyptian blood is sacred. The Brotherhood stated that they were “appalled at the latest bloodshed yesterday that claimed the lives of dozens of soldiers and Egyptians.”

The Dostour Party also denounced the attack and upheld its support for the Armed Forces in its fight against terrorism, while asking for more transparency on the situation in Sinai. 

In its statement, the party condemned the continued targeting of Egypt’s soldiers, saying the Armed Forces sacrifice their lives in the difficult war against terrorism.

“Egyptians who belong to this country and who wish for its development can only appreciate the efforts [of the Armed Forces] and their heroic role in protecting it,” the statement read.

The party reiterated its request for the government to be more transparent and provide more information on the situation in Sinai and the danger posed by terrorist groups, “who have been at war with Egyptians over the past 18 months.”

In a rare public statement, Dostour Party founder Mohamed ElBaradei posted condolences on his Twitter account.

ElBaradei, who has kept a low profile since he left Egypt in August 2013, posted a verse from the Quran stating that “if anyone killed a person — unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land — it would be as if he killed the whole people.”

He followed with another verse stating, “Surely we belong to God, and to Him shall we return.” 

The Popular Current also expressed its condolences to the victims’ families, saying the nation needs to unite behind the military in its fight against terrorism.

However, the party also raised questions around security in Sinai in light of the recent attacks, including the kidnapping and killing of police officer Ayman Dessouky in North Sinai earlier this month. The group called on the Armed Forces commander-in-chief to identify who is responsible for these shortcomings.

The April 6 Youth Movement also issued a statement decrying the attacks. The group called for the protection of Egyptians’ lives, but also warned that “violence only breeds violence.”

The statement maintained that the movement stands together with Egyptians against terrorism. 

Mixed messages?

On Friday, the Brotherhood also posted a statement on its English-language website condemning violence in general.

Though Friday’s earlier statement didn’t specifically refer to Thursday’s events, it reinforced the Brotherhood’s commitment to peace despite the many “violations” against the group committed by successive governments. The statement emphasized the series of events that occurred after the Armed Forces forcibly removed President Mohamed Morsi from power in July 2013.

“All of these illegitimate junta actions were rejected by the Muslim Brotherhood and the people of Egypt, all the while committing to its slogan, ‘Our peacefulness is stronger than bullets’,” the statement read.

“The group has remained, and still remains, committed — in word and deed — to peaceful and political civil resistance, in spite of all the horrid massacres committed by the coup regime, including the Rabea and Nahda bloodbaths,” it continued. The statement referred to the deadly dispersal of the Rabea al-Adaweya and Nahda Square sit-ins in August 2013 that left more than 1,000 people dead.

The group resisted “a relentless anti-Brotherhood campaign of demonization and dehumanization” aimed at “pushing the Egyptian people, including the Muslim Brotherhood, into a spiral of chaos and violence,” the statement said.

The group said its members adopt peaceful methods. Those who choose a violent path “no longer belong in the Brotherhood, and the group no longer accepts them,” the statement declared.

A strongly-worded statement posted on the group’s Arabic website days earlier took a more martial tone, urging its supporters to “prepare” for a new phase in which “we summon all our strength and evoke the meaning of jihad.”

The statement talks about the meaning of strength, citing Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna’s definition of the word.

For Banna, strength involves emotional as well as physical fortitude, the statement said.

The statement also referred to the Special Apparatus, a secret paramilitary wing of the Brotherhood created by Banna which fought against British rule, and which the group has recently worked to distance itself from.

“Rising nations need strength, and need to instil military morals into their children in this age where peace is only guaranteed by preparation for war,” the Brotherhood quoted Banna as saying.

“We are at the beginning of a new phase where we summon our strength and evoke the meaning of jihad, and prepare ourselves, our wives, our sons and daughters and whoever follows our path for relentless jihad where we ask for martyrdom,” the statement declared.

*Editor’s note: This article has been amended. An earlier version was posted prior to the issuance of both Muslim Brotherhood statements on the situation in Sinai. The article has also been changed to more accurately reflect the contexts of the various statements.


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