Egypt’s Morsi visits Sinai amid army assault
By Rizwan Khatik - Sat Aug 11, 12:54 pm
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has visited the city of el-Arish in North Sinai for the second time since a surprise attack near the Rafah border crossing nearly a week ago that killed 16 Egyptian soldiers.
During his visit on Friday, the president promised to use “a grip of steel to stop the criminals”.
“We will not rest until we finish our mission,” Morsi said, addressing a cheering crowd, referring to a major Egyptian military operation in the Sinai Peninsula in retaliation to the attack, aimed at stamping out hostile groups.
The recently-elected Morsi and the country’s longtime defence minister Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi broke their dawn-to-dusk fast in a symbolic gesture with soldiers in northern Sinai.
According to a security official, Egyptian troops and security forces on Friday detained a number of suspected “terrorists” in the area believed to be behind the attack.
At least six people were arrested in northern Sinai, state news agency MENA reported. They were arrested during joint army and police patrols searching for criminals in the province, the agency said.
The arrests were in response to the assault last Sunday, in which gunmen stormed an army checkpoint by the borders with Gaza and Israel, and killed 16 soldiers as they were breaking their daily fast for the holy month of Ramadan with a sunset meal.
The attackers then commandeered an armoured vehicle, which they later used to storm across the border into Israel where they were hit by an Israeli airstrike that killed at least six fighters.