Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi spoke to French President Francois Hollande on Friday evening to condemn the attacks that have recently rocked France and to express the Egyptian people’s “sincere condolences”.
Presidential spokesperson Alaa Youssef said that Al-Sisi denounced terrorism in all its manifestations, and maintained that “the traditions of Islam condemn such brutal acts against innocent civilians”.
On Wednesday, armed gunmen stormed into the Paris offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 including the editor-in-chief and two policemen. In the following days, the suspects’ chase brought about more terrorist violence around Paris, including the taking of hostages in a kosher supermarket by another militant. The militant had demanded the release of the besieged Hebdo suspects, killing four hostages in the process.
According to Youssef, Al-Sisi spoke of the need to bring about peace and stability in the Middle East, and reach a “just and comprehensive settlement to the Palestinian issue” to tackle global terrorism. Al-Sisi also talked of the need to “improve the quality of education, the dissemination of the culture of tolerance and peaceful coexistence”.
Despite Al-Sisi’s message to President Hollande, some Egyptian media was critical of Charlie Hebdo’s role in the events. State-owned newspaper Al-Ahram covered the events under the headline “Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical magazine: free criticism, or provocation and blind hatred?” and continued to go through the magazine’s history inciting publications. Many Egyptians took to Twitter to also criticise Hebdo’s content using the hashtags “Je ne suis pas Charlie” (I am not Charlie).
Meanwhile, the US Department of State issued a ‘Worldwide Caution’ to its citizens travelling and residing throughout the world. US citizens were encouraged to practice high vigilance and take appropriate security measures in light of an increased threat of terrorist actions.
The statement focuses on the threat from militant Islamist groups, mentioning various groups across Africa, the Middle-East, and Asia. It also mentions a recent call from militant group “Islamic State” for retributive attacks against US citizens for the coalition airstrikes campaign targeting the militant group.
“The Department of State remains concerned about the continued threat of terrorist attacks, demonstrations, and other violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests overseas,” the statement reads.
“Extremists may elect to use conventional or non-conventional weapons, and target both official and private interests. Examples of such targets include high-profile sporting events, residential areas, business offices, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, public areas, shopping malls, and other tourist destinations.”
The French attackers linked themselves to Yemeni-based militants Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a group mentioned in the US statement as being “particularly effective with kidnapping [Western citizens] for ransom and are using ransom money to fund the range of their activities.”