President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said the Egyptian army is not an aggressor and does not invade foreign territory but only responds to attacks against it – in reference to recent airstrikes it carried out against Islamic State group targets in Libya.
“How could I go to the Coptic Cathedral to extend my condolences when the Egyptian army hasn’t avenged the attacks?” he asked in a recorded speech aired on Sunday,
The Islamic State group last week uploaded online a video showing the beheading of 20 kidnapped Egyptian Copts in Libya, which it claimed responsibility for.
Al-Sisi insisted the strikes were accurate, targeting 13 specific targets and rejected notions that the army targets civilians.
The president said a raid on a large group of militants was halted last summer due to the presence of women and children at the scene of the planned attack.
“I salute Egypt’s armed forces, who are not just alert to dangers on the country’s western borders, but are alert in the east in Sinai as well as in the south,” he said.
Al-Sisi also thanked Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates for the support they have given Egypt, adding that the UAE and Jordan have offered military assistance with regards to Libya.
Source: Ahram Online