Following seven days of the major military operation “Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018”, Egypt Today spoke with Hegazy Saad, Member of Parliament representing the North Sinai governorate, about steps following the full-scale offensive.
Can you talk to us more about “Sinai 2018”?
Sinai 2018 marks the end of terrorism in Sinai, which used to terrify Sinai citizens and made their lives hell. The terrorists kept killing citizens in Sinai, targeting both Muslims and Christians.
How have Sinai’s residents reacted to the military operation?
They have waited for this operation for many years; the salvation from terrorists. Sinai’s residents feel satisfied and contented with the outcomes of the full scale operation “Sinai 2018”. As the operation kicked off, the army was constantly reassuring Sinai’s residents about their safety. Sinai 2018 is no less important than the 1973 Arab–Israeli War. We are in a war and we will win.
Would you tell us about the living conditions in Sinai currently? Has life in Sinai halted?
Life has not stopped there, the schools are closed for fear of students’ lives, as terrorists could target them. Sinai is supported by strategic goods and food. Life will not stop in Sinai, but there is attention being paid to the lives of civilians. In addition, Sinai’s stores have returned to work normally and residents practice their everyday activities without any obstacles. The army and policemen are working hard to maintain the normal lives of the residents. Moreover, there is no shortage of fuel.
How is the army and Sinai tribes coordinating together?
There is a high level of coordination among the armed forces, tribes and Sinai youth. The tribes support the military forces with information and road maps. There are regular meetings held between all parties to follow up with the updates of the operation.
There are news stating that the operation is targeting civilians, what would you comment on that?
This is absolutely false. The army is very keen to preserve the lives of citizens. Moreover, the army is taking into consideration the sanctity of homes. The Muslim Brotherhood is behind these rumors.
When will the results of the Sinai operation show?
The outcomes of the operation will appear within a month from now and its effects will be widespread. However, the results are already clear. The terrorists are hiding in the burrows for fear of army strikes. The results of the attacks appeared the day after “Comprehensive Sinai Operation 2018” started.
In your opinion, are there agencies supporting terrorists?
Yes, definitely. There are countries that have supported Egypt’s instability for years following a plan to transfer terrorists from Syria, Libya and Iraq to Egypt. This plan hasn’t succeeded due to the efforts of the army and citizens but I confirm that there are parties who are supporting terrorists financially and logistically.
Do you expect that an act of retaliation may be conducted during the upcoming days?
It may happen but our military forces will confront it fiercely and decisively. They will work to eliminate the terrorist strongholds completely at a steady pace.
How will people’s lives change after Sinai 2018?
By the end of the military operation, Egypt will launch an extensive development process and there will be large projects in Sinai to provide opportunities for the people and youth of Sinai. After the eradication of terrorism, Sinai will be transformed to new Sinai. President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi will order the acceleration of Sinai’s development. Moreover, the infrastructure of a number of Sinai’s cities and villages, including the area of Bi’r al-Abd, will be developed.