Egypt s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi participates in the 37th Armed Forces cultural symposium on Martyr Day in Al-Manara International Conference Centre in New Cairo. Still photo/Egyptian Presidency
“It is of a low cost for those practising [this science] to destroy a country by its own people,” El-Sisi stated after he referred to the consequences of the turbulent events Egypt witnessed in 2011 on the security situation in North Sinai.
El-Sisi also warned Egyptians against becoming a “cause for the destruction of your country once again,” as happened in the wake of the 2011 events in the country.
2011 marks the massive protests that broke out on 25 January -- mainly in Cairo’s Tahrir Square -- and forced late president Hosni Mubarak to resign after three decades in power.
“In 2011, while people were engrossed in the square, the presence of the Egyptian state there (in North Sinai) was being ruined and eradicated,” El-Sisi said.
“Beware, Egyptians, not to cause the ruin of your country once again. This happened when the state was loosened in 2011,” El-Sisi said.
Building the state
El-Sisi urged Egyptians to be stronger and more solid in the face of the current “multiple and endless challenges” to build the state home to 105 million people and over six million guests.
The president affirmed that the economic crisis that Egypt is witnessing cannot be used to “measure the [success of] the Egyptian state.”
El-Sisi said the state has chosen not to allocate all its resources to the war against terrorism and decided instead to work diligently to end the problem and, at the same time, to build the state and achieve development.
“Our sons were fighting there, and the state was fighting here another battle,” El-Sisi said, adding that the duty of eliminating terrorism has been accomplished successfully.
In this regard, the president warned against a terrorist operation in Egypt to emphasise their presence after his announcement that the dream of eradicating terrorism has come true.
El-Sisi urged Egyptians to exercise vigilance in order to preserve the nation’s security and stability.
Anti-terror war exhibition
El-Sisi said the state will hold an exhibition for the war on terrorism in Sinai to showcase the weapons, ammunition, and war equipment used there.
The exhibition will also showcase the names of all terrorists and their photos.
On 28 January 2011, the situation due to the transgression of terrorists in North Sinai got out of control, which required Egypt to send security forces to the governorate, El-Sisi said.
He added that there were fears that these terrorist elements may carry out transborder operations against Israel, which would definitely draw an Israeli response and could result in a huge conflict.
El-Sisi noted that he contacted Israeli officials to inform them that Egypt needs to send forces to Arish, Rafah, and Sheikh Zuweid cities in order to bring the situation under control.
The war against terrorism in Sinai cost the state an EGP 1 billion monthly since 2011.
“We knew that the battle [with terrorists] would end but that there would be bloodshed,” El-Sisi said.
Earlier on the day, El-Sisi stated that Egypt’s dream of eliminating terrorism has come true thanks to martyrs' sacrifices.
El-Sisi urged “all Egyptians” to be cautious to prevent “the destruction Egypt could have witnessed over the past 10 years” from taking place.
The symposium was held at Al-Manara International Conference Centre in New Cairo in the presence of many high-level figures and ministers.
Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, Minister of Defence and Military Production Mohamed Zaki, Senate Speaker Abdel-Wahab Abdel-Razek, Al-Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayyeb and head of the Coptic Orthodox Church Pope Tawadros II were among the attendees.
The Armed Forces Martyr's Day, marked annually on 9 March, was designated in honour of former army chief of staff Abdel-Moneim Riad who died on that day in 1969.
Riad was killed by Israeli fire while overseeing the Egyptian plan during the War of Attrition to destroy the Bar Lev Line built by the occupation forces at the time along the eastern bank of the Suez Canal.