Egypt Promises 'Decisive Action' After Gunmen Kill 6 Soldiers
Egypt has declared "decisive action" against Islamists on Sunday, 24 hours after six soldiers were killed by unidentified gunmen at a checkpoint in a Cairo suburb, according to Al-Jazeera. Two bombs were also left at the checkpoint and defused by explosives experts,
In response, the Egyptian cabinet decided to "decisively confront whoever attacks citizens and civilian and government installations," it said in a statement. It added that attacks on military personnel would be dealt with in the military court system, in accordance with the constitution approved via a January referendum.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks yet, according to Xinhua, but analysts at several agencies have named likely candidates as the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and the Al Qaeda-inspired Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis terror organization.
Several months ago, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis denounced the Egyptian army as “an enemy of Allah” because of its crackdown on Sinai terrorists and called for “jihad” against it.
Egypt’s interim government says there is a direct link between the Muslim Brotherhood and Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, and on this basis blacklisted the Brotherhood as a terror organization.
The Sinai-based Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis has already claimed a series of terrorist attacks in Egypt, including the assassination of a top Egyptian police general, who was gunned down as he left his home in a west Cairo neighborhood.
The army has also already been cracking down on Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood’s offshoot which controls Gaza and is seen by Egypt as a threat to its security. Egypt has been shutting down Hamas tunnels which lead from the Sinai into Gaza. Hamas uses these tunnels to transfer goods, weapons and even terrorists.
Egypt has also blamed Hamas of being involved in teaching Islamists in Egypt how to carry out attacks. Hamas has denied the allegations.