President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi made a speech Friday, addressing “terrorism”, the rumours about the Egyptian army in Yemen, and the postponed parliamentary elections.
The speech comes days following the death of two students in Kafr Al-Sheikh on Wednesday in an improvised explosive device (IED) explosion, which left at least four others injured.
The bomb targeted a vehicle carrying army cadets in the vicinity of Kafr El-Sheikh Stadium.
Al-Sisi said that similar incidents targeting security personnel have “increased”, but he said that such acts prove that militants are “bankrupt”.
He added that the state’s confrontations with militants “are achieving success”, noting that such confrontations are “limited to the law” and “no weapons are used expect when they [militants] use them”.
Since the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi in 2013, military personnel have been targeted across Egyptian governorates, with the highest frequency of attacks in North Sinai.
Regarding the situation in Yemen, Al-Sisi denied rumours about dispatching ground troops to Yemen, and stressed that Egypt has only sent naval and air forces to the Bab Al-Mandab Strait. He added that any decisions regarding sending other forces to Yemen will be announced prior to implementation.
Egypt has sent naval and air forces as part of the Saudi-led airstrikes on Yemen launched late March, and backed by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The closure of the Bab Al-Mandab Strait is feared, if it falls into the hands of the Houthi Shi’a rebels, as this would negatively affect trade through the Suez Canal.
Egypt also announced that its participation in military operations aim “to restore stability and legitimacy in Yemen” through returning Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi to power. However, Al-Sisi reiterated that Egypt is seeking a political solution.
Al-Sisi also addressed the topic of the postponed parliamentary elections, the third and final pillar of the roadmap. He noted the importance of the upcoming Egyptian parliament, however adding that “protecting and securing our state” is the most important of all.
The parliamentary elections were originally set to take place last March. However a court ruling on the unconstitutionality of the elections law caused them to be postponed indefinitely.
Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb said last week that elections are set to commence before next Ramadan in mid-June.