During a recent interview with the Russian news organization Rossiya Segodnya, Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab stated that Egypt could take the lead in the fight against terrorism. “Today’s terrorism is an artificially created product which has no borders and is expanding at high speed. The price for terrorism is being paid by ordinary people. Egypt can lead the list of countries that are active in the fight against terrorism,” Mahlab said.
The Egyptian Minister continued, “We need to protect our borders, especially the border with Libya, which stretch out over more than a thousand kilometers. We will fight against terrorism inside the country, because the prevalence of terrorism is enormous.” “We have seen what is happening in Libya, Iraq, Egypt, Syria and what transferred to Algeria, where a French citizen was recently beheaded,” reported Egyptian news Sada Elbalad.
Egypt has been leading in the global fight against terrorism since the removal of former Islamist president Morsi. Egyptian security forces launched a major counter-extremist military operation in northern Sinai to root out terrorists immediately following the removal of the Muslim Brotherhood from power. Egyptian security forces have been successful in killing and capturing hundreds of militants and closing 90% of the terrorist tunnels used by militants to smuggle weapons and supplies to and from Gaza since the start of the operations.
According to Ahram Online, during a recent weeklong assault lasting from September 20-27, Egyptian security forces killed 26 militants in raids in the Sinai and Nile Delta. Egyptian security forces also captured 84 militants during the raids, including the dangerous fighter Soliman Ayed Soliman. Egyptian security forces destroyed 18 additional tunnel passages in the recent attacks, adding to the 1,700 tunnels destroyed since the launch of the military operations in the Sinai.
Egyptian President Sisi during his recent visit to the United Nations, spoke about how Egypt has been warning about the global threat of terrorism, and about the importance of Egypt’s role in the global coalition to fight terrorism. During his United Nations speech, Sisi stated, “The upsurge in extremism and violence perpetrated in the name of religion that the region is currently witnessing is an evidence of the true objectives of these groups that exploit religion. We have warned against them over and over again. They have transformed the values of justice, compassion and mercy treasured by Judaism, Christianity and Islam, into grim sectarianism and destructive civil and regional wars which continue to claim the lives of innocent people of different religions.”
He continued, “Terrorism is a plague that does not differentiate in its spread between developing and developed societies…That is why it is imperative that we all intensify our cooperation and coordination efforts to end the support provided to these terrorist organizations that enables them to continue perpetrating crimes.”
President Sisi has called for the global coalition against terrorism to not only include the Islamic State, but the coalition must battle other groups as well. Sisi said any international coalition to combat terrorism “should be comprehensive and not exclusively target a specific organization or eradicate a certain terrorist hotspot”.
He said, “Rather, the coalition should extend to encompass combating terrorism wherever it exists in the Middle East and African regions,” Reuters reported.
Egypt has been battling a campaign of violence perpetrated by radical Islamists, which analysts and officials have stated is starting to appear increasingly inspired by tactics from the Islamic State. In an online video published last week, the Islamic State urged insurgents in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula to press ahead with attacks against Egyptian security forces and beheadings.
“Rig the roads with explosives for them. Attack their bases. Raid their homes. Cut off their heads. Do not let them feel secure,” Islamic State spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani said in a statement to Egyptian militants released online, Reuters reported.
On Sunday, September 21st, a roadside bomb killed 2 policemen and a passer-by near the Foreign Ministry in downtown Cairo, including a key witness in the trial of former Islamist president Morsi. A week later, an Egyptian police officer was shot and killed in North Cairo. He was shot three times while on his way to work by unknown assailants.
The Obama Administration withheld all military support following the removal of Islamist president Morsi. Defense Security Hagel recently spoke with Egyptian Defense Minister Sedky Sobhy last Saturday to confirm the delivery of 10 Apache helicopters to Egypt. The Administration continues to withhold previously ordered M1A1 tanks, F-16 fighter jets, Harpoon anti-ship missiles and other military gear to Egypt’s military. Russia and Egypt recently sealed a $3.5 billion preliminary arms deal due to the suspension of U.S. military aid to Egypt.