Egypt’s army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi issued on Wednesday a defiant message to “terrorists,” saying the armed forces are “ready to die…for Egypt to stay alive.”
Gen. Sisi made the remarks in a televised speech following attacks in North Sinai in which at least 10 Egyptian soldiers were killed.
“People should know we are all ready to die in order for Egypt to stay alive,” he said, in statements carried by Egyptian news website Ahram Online.
“Everyone who used weapons against the military and the police is a terrorist who wants to crush his own people. We are there to fight this and be killed for this aim,” he added.
Earlier on Wednesday, a car bomb attack killed at least 10 Egyptian soldiers near the North Sinai city of el-Arish.
The assault is considered one of the deadliest in the restive Sinai Peninsula since al-Qaeda-inspired militants began stepping up assaults following the army's ouster of Islamist President Mohammad Mursi in July.
The bodies of the slain soldiers arrived Wednesday evening at Almaza military air-base in Cairo, state media reported.
Footage aired on state television showed Sisi attending the soldiers’ funeral and comforting their family members.
“We do not fear, because we know if we fall while defending our country we will be martyrs; we will stand like martyrs in front of God,” Sisi said.
“God only knows the pain in our souls,” Sisi said in closing remarks.