Following days of the major military operation “Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018”, Egypt Today spoke with Hossam el-Refaay, Member of Parliament for Al-Arish governorate, about the latest meeting between Members of Parliament, representing Sinai and Al-Arish governorates and the presidential advisors, in addition to updates the conditions of life in Sinai.
What happened in the last meeting between the Sinai Members of Parliament and the presidential advisors?
We have received invitation from Ibrahim Mahlab, Presidential Advisor for the national and strategic Projects, and Ahmed Gamal, the president’s advisor of security affairs. The meeting, lasted two hours, in which we reviewed the problems of Sinai residents through “Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018”, and we got firm promises from the advisors to solve them.
What are the discussed problems?
We discussed means to afford Sinai Citizen’s with all the basic needs and the advisors promised to provide fuel for the gas stations and foods and commodities for the shops. They also promised to open the roads. Moreover, we talked about the plans to develop Sinai.
Did you talk about the end date of the Sinai operation?
Of course no. No one has asked about the end date of the military operation as we know the danger of the enemy that the Military forces are facing. We have seen the desire from the political leadership to eliminate terrorism completely.
What about the crisis with the shortage of commodities?
The presidential advisors offered to increase the commodities that the army provides to Sinai but we did not want to burden them more, so we asked to open the roads to Sinai to transfer goods easily and we were promised that they would b opened soon.
Are there problems encountered regarding patients in serious health conditions in Al-Arish?
Yes. We presented the issue, and it was agreed that rapid intervention in coordination with Sinai governorate would be used to increase attention to ill patients. We were able, over the past few days, to transfer a number of patients that required treatment out of Sinai through equipped ambulances to Cairo, Ismailia and Suez.
What are the life conditions currently in Al-Arish?
Al-Arish is completely safe. The military operations are being conducted outside the residential blocks, in the early days of the operation, we surveyed the residential areas and there was a popular response to the campaign. In addition, the army and police forces are much respected. It is true that we detected individual abuses, but they will be discussed later as the most important now is supporting the efforts of the State to eliminate terrorism.
As for the schools, was it possible to be resumed soon in Sinai?
The end date of the Sinai operations is related to the development of conditions there but the residential areas and in normal conditions. I expect that the education in schools could be resumed within a week or ten days at the most. For students who have not been able to return to their governorates due to road closures, there will be coordination with the governorate to register their names.
What about the coordination between tribes and armed forces in eliminating terrorism?
Coordination between them at the highest level. There are ongoing meetings with tribes in supporting the military operation. No traitor is among us. The saying that the tribes do not support the state is not true at all. Tribes support and participate in the arrest of dangerous terrorist elements.
Finally, do you expect the success of the “Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018”, to eliminate terrorism?
“Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018”, will succeed, but we are not supposed to judge the operation from the beginning. The operation needs time to eliminate terror and life will gradually return to normal, but we are still in the first stage. I think the Sinai operation will extend in several stages and its results will have impressive results in the coming days.