13 targets hit in Libya airstrikes were "studied" with precision - Sisi

Monday 23-02-2015 09:50 AM
13 targets hit in Libya airstrikes were

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi sits in his office at the Presidential Palace in Cairo June 22, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan Smialowski/Pool


CAIRO, Feb 22 (Aswat Masriya) - The "need for a unified Arab force" is becoming "a pressing need because the challenges facing the region and our nations are huge", said President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in a pre-recorded address to the nation on Sunday.

The president said Egypt struck 13 targets in Libya in the airstrikes launched by the Egyptian air force last week. He said the targets were "studied" and "explored" with precision.

He added that he is saying this so "that no one thinks that we are carrying out operations against civilians."

The strikes, which Egypt carried out against militant targets inside Libya, were in response to a video released one day before, showing the beheadings of 20 Egyptian men and another man who is not believed to be of Egyptian origin.

Sisi reiterated that the Egyptian army does not "assault or invade" anyone. 

"It was a brutal act against Egypt and its children," he said. 

Sisi said several Arab leaders called him after the incident, including Jordan's King Abdullah, who offered to send troops. He added that Gulf neighbours, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates had similar positions. 



The president stressed that in the midst of "an information war," which involves "rumours", modern means of communication and "terrorism," "our siblings in the Gulf must know that we bear" nothing but respect for them.  

Specifically mentioning, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, Sisi said the aid they have provided since the July 2013 power shift, is the "main reason" behind Egypt's "continuation despite all challenges it has faced."

The three oil-rich Gulf countries were quick to financially support Egypt's interim authorities, which took charge after the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood politician and former president Mohamed Mursi in 2013. 

"We would never offend you," the president said, addressing the Gulf countries that support Egypt, including the three aforementioned and Bahrain.

Earlier this month, leaked audio recordings surfaced purportedly featuring Sisi and top officials ridiculing some of the Gulf states supporting Egypt.



"Egypt is a very mature country, that does not take risks or have a hidden agenda," Sisi said while addressing the Dabaa nuclear energy plant on the Mediterranean coast.  

Sisi said Egypt needs very large quantities of energy now and in the future, adding that "we need diverse sources of energy."   

Sisi said that Egypt is signatory of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons but added that within the treaty, Egypt has the right to develop nuclear energy for civilian use.

"We have a continuous strategic relationship with the United States," he said.   

On the recent arms deal Egypt signed with France's Dassault Aviation, worth over five billion euros, Sisi said "facilitations" were provided by France. He thanked French counterpart Francois Hollande for the effort he exerted to see the deal through. 

Addressing Egyptian-Chinese relations, Sisi said he will be receiving his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in continuation of relations built during his visit to China last December. 



"I do not deny that there might be innocent youth" behind bars, Sisi said, adding that this is a result to the "state we are in."

He said he issued orders to the Interior Ministry to examine prisons and prepare lists and "we will work on their release."

The first batch of "detained youth" will be released within the next few days, he added.  

In the Sinai Peninsula, where there is militancy, Sisi said Sinai will not be developed without "real security and stability." 

Sisi called upon everyone listening to pray for Egypt and the whole Arab region, "that they survive the strife and evil surrounding them," at the end of his address, over which he expressed keenness to repeat monthly.   

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