Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has repeatedly made statements about his country succeeding in eliminating terrorism to a large extent. These claims have raised many questions about the steps Egypt has taken to fight terrorism.
Sisi had announced that Egypt will organize a massive celebration in the North Sinai Governorate.
The Egyptian governorate, over the past years, has been ailed by the presence of extremist groups.
The Egyptian army and police forces have launched a major security operation in north and central Sinai since February 2018 to purge the area from takfiris loyal to the terrorist organization ISIS. The campaign was named “Comprehensive Operation Sinai.”
Today, Sinai is witnessing many development projects for the restoration of its infrastructure. Recently, the region was visited by several ministers and officials.
Sisi noted that the North Sinai city of al-Arish witnessed the landing of a plane carrying Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly for the first time in almost eight years.
“We were not able to hold a (celebration) when al-Arish and Rafah were in the state they were seven years ago,” added the president.
Sisi mentioned general information about the planned celebration in al-Arish.
He said it would be a memorable one, noting that the event will also take place in other Sinai cities that suffered from terrorism in the past years, including Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid.
Sisi’s announcement signals stability and calm in Sinai after years of fighting “terrorism.”
In December 2017, unidentified attackers shelled al-Arish airport. The attack took place during a visit to the city by the Egyptian ministers of defense and interior.
At the time, the Egyptian army announced that an officer was killed, and two others were injured in the attack.
Madbouly, alongside seven ministers, had visited North Sinai in mid-January.
“The state, with all its affiliated bodies, has exerted arduous efforts to uproot terrorism in Sinai and at the same time establish development projects,” affirmed Madbouly.
Madbouly said the security situation in the governorate is stable, after tremendous efforts exerted by the state.
He also referred to the sacrifices made by the Armed Forces, the police, and the civilians to fight terrorism and restore stability to the region.
During an inspection tour of North Sinai, Madbouly talked about the aftermath of terrorist attacks targeting government and security institutions. He said that traces of bullets were still present on the facades of buildings.
“The celebration that Sisi announced in North Sinai proves that we are greatly close to eliminating the security challenges in Rafah, Sheikh Zuweid and al-Arish,” said Amr Abdel Moneim, an Egyptian researcher specializing in Islamic movements.
“The fete will be the result of a plan that was implemented successfully according to the methodologies of security operations and military strategies,” Moneim told Asharq Al-Awsat.
Moneim pointed out that the tribes in Sinai had participated in purging the region from terrorism.
Many victims of the Egyptian police and army fell during the anti-terrorism operations in Sinai.
Speaking on Egyptian Police Day on Monday, Sisi reminded attendees that Egypt has paid a steep price in its fight against terrorism.
North Sinai Governor Mohamed Abdel-Fadil Shousha affirmed that Sisi had allotted sizable attention to clear Sinai from terrorism and launch development projects there.
The Egyptian government, for its part, confirmed adopting a “comprehensive vision” for the reconstruction of the Sinai Peninsula after the elimination of “hotbeds of terrorism.”
Investments amounting to more than LE700 billion were and are being implemented to develop the Sinai Peninsula over eight years, the Egyptian government revealed.