Egypt denies ‘insurgency’ in restive Sinai region
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry. (AFP/Getty Images/Timothy A. Clary)
Egypt’s foreign minister has criticized foreign media for describing a string of recent militant attacks on its security personnel in the Sinai Peninsula as an “insurgency.”
Speaking at a meeting with foreign correspondents on Saturday, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry noted that a number of foreign media outlets had been using the term to describe recent turmoil in the restive peninsula.
“What’s happening in Sinai is nothing more than criminal and terrorist acts,” Shoukry was quoted as saying in a Foreign Ministry statement.
On Wednesday, militants linked to the Daesh group staged a series of coordinated attacks on security checkpoints in Egypt’s North Sinai province.
Media reports suggested that more than 60 soldiers had been killed in the attacks; the army, however, has put the death toll among its security forces at 17.
Responsibility for the attacks was claimed by the Daesh-linked Welayet Sinai (“Province of Sinai”) group.
For the last two years, Egyptian security forces have waged a fierce campaign against militants in northern Sinai, which shares borders with both Israel and the blockaded Gaza Strip.
The military campaign has been accompanied by numerous attacks on security personnel that began in mid-2013, after Mohamed Morsi – Egypt's first democratically elected president – was ousted in a military coup following protests against his one year in office.