Deadly attack: Morsi vows to secure Sinai

2012-08-06 12:01
President Mohamed Morsi. (AP, File)

President Mohamed Morsi. (AP, File)

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Cairo - Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi has vowed to retake control of the Sinai Peninsula after gunmen killed 16 guards near the border with Israel before crossing into the Jewish state in an armoured vehicle.

Israel said five gunmen were killed on its side of the border late on Sunday.

Gunmen in Bedouin attire drove up to the checkpoint and opened fire, Egyptian officials said. Israel said two armoured vehicles were seized, one of which exploded by itself and the other of which was destroyed by a helicopter.

"The bodies of the five gunmen have been found by the Israeli army," a military spokesperson said on Monday, but did not give details.

The Israeli military's top spokesperson, Yoav Mordechai, told army radio: "We were ready because we had previous information from Shin Bet [security service] and from military intelligence services, which allowed us to thwart a bloody attack."

The armoured vehicle that crossed the border "fired in every direction after entering Israeli territory before being attacked by tanks and from the air", Mordechai added.

He said the gunmen were "members of the global jihad based in Sinai, which has become a hothouse for world terrorism because of the weak control exercised" by Egypt.

President Morsi had vowed on Sunday to retake control of the Sinai after the attack, saying he had given "clear instructions" that Egypt must take "full control of the Sinai" after the security situation deteriorated markedly following last year's ouster of long-time strongman Hosni Mubarak.

Morsi, who only took the oath of office on 30 June to become Egypt's first freely elected leader and its first head of state since Mubarak's overthrow, said those who committed the "cowardly" attack and those who worked with them would pay dearly.

"Those responsible for this crime will be hunted down and arrested," he said.

"Everybody will see that the Egyptian military and police forces can get these criminals wherever they are," he said. "These criminal, these attackers do not belong among us."

Read more on:    mohammed morsi  |  egypt  |  north africa
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