Crackdown on Brotherhood has 'diminished' insurgency, says Egypt’s Sisi
The harsh crackdown against the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has decreased an ongoing Islamist insurgency, says Egyptian President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi.
Sisi told PBS on Monday, in probably the toughest interview he has faced, that Egypt’s crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood has lowered the number of insurgent attacks and that the “dream of Tahrir” is still alive and well.
“Undoubtedly, the crackdown on the insurgents and the terrorist members decreased the insurgent operations,” said the Egyptian President.
|Crackdown on the insurgents and the terrorist members decreased the insurgent operations
- Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi
He also said the crackdown had decreased “terrorist operations” and “terrorist incidents” and that terrorism would never defeat Egypt.
Egypt has been battling a long-running insurgency in Sinai that has grown since the 2011 revolution against former president Hosni Mubarak.
After the army overthrew his Islamist successor, Mohammed Morsi, in July 2013 and launched a crackdown on the Brotherhood, attacks have surged to unprecedented numbers.
A local militant group pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group [IS] last year, renaming itself Wilayat Sinai [Sinai Province] has killed hundreds of soldiers and policemen.
Apology to Mexico
The Egyptian head-of-state also apologised to Mexico for the recent accidental killing of eight Mexican tourists.
“The unfortunate incident of the Mexican tourists. That was a mistake. They were in an off-limit area very close to the border area with Libya, dangerous areas, where smugglers used to infiltrate with weapons and foreign fighters,” he said.
Social media users recently rounded on Egypt's foreign minister following an awkwardly-worded open letter to the Mexican people, which many people thought did not accept full responsibility for the attack.
Syria and Tahrir
Sisi then said he was for a political solution to solve the conflict in Syria, which would keep Syria intact and “preserve” the Syrian army.
|Sisi has been in New York to address the UN [Getty]|
On the topic of the 2011 Egyptian revolution, he said the dream of Tahrir Square still holds true and that now no Egyptian President will serve more than two terms.
He added: “[Egypt] can only be ruled by will, by the will and the choice of the Egyptians, not against their free will.”
Sisi has waged a brutal crackdown against Islamists and liberal activist since 2013, when he led the military overthrow of Morsi during mass protests against his rule.
Thousands of Islamists have been arrested since the military coup, and scores sentenced to death, including Morsi.