The presidency expressed outrage at the video released by the Sinai kidnappers with spokesperson Omar Amer calling it “appalling” and promising a decisive response at a Monday press conference.
“We have not negotiated and refuse the very idea. However, all options are available and we are considering several alternatives,” Amer told journalists, adding that President Mohamed Morsi’s priority right now was the safe release of the seven kidnapped soldiers.
Amer added that Sinai sheikhs and tribal elders were participating in finding a solution to the crisis and that the presidency is holding dialogues continuing to hold dialogues with them.
He said that the presidency understood that the soldiers blocking the Rafah Border Crossing were doing so in solidarity with their kidnapped comrades and is taking that into account but at the same time trying to reopen the crossing as soon as possible.
“The Karam Abu Salem crossing was also closed but we managed to convince those blocking it to reopen it and we hope to do the same with the Rafah crossing,” said Amer.
The spokesperson denied any rift between Morsi and military leaders, asserting that the president was also the supreme commander of the Armed Forces and was in “complete unity” with the military regarding this issue.
When asked to clarify a previous presidency statement that said the president was keen on preserving the lives of the kidnapped soldiers as well as the kidnappers, Amer said the intention was to convey that the “state is committed to resolving the issue without spilling one drop of Egyptian blood”.
Amer said amending the Camp David Accords and Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty had nothing to do with the kidnapping, which is “solely a domestic issue” and denied that the kidnapping would affect Egypt’s chances of securing a loan from the International Monetary Fund.
Unidentified gunmen kidnapped seven off duty security personnel on Thursday; six of them belong to different sections of the Ministry of Interior and one of the detainees is a military volunteer non-commissioned officer with the Border Guards.
The kidnappers released a video of the soldiers on Sunday depicting them blindfolded and bound. They had one of them recited the kidnappers’ demands, which are the release of Sinai political prisoners. Several families identified the soldiers in the videos as their children.