Egyptian army troops in North Sinai- Reuters
CAIRO - 30 July 2018: Foreign media correspondents assured the stability of the situation in Bir al-Abd village and Arish city, North Sinai, in the aftermath of the military operations carried out to combat terrorism, according to the statement issued by the State Information Service (SIS) on Sunday.
The SIS has organized a visit for foreign media correspondents to Bir al-Abd village and Arish city, North Sinai, to inspect the living and social status of civilians in the aftermath of the military operations to combat terrorism.
The foreign correspondents transferred what they saw, through videos and audios, the social and economic conditions of citizens residing in Arish and Bir al-Abd besides the development projects made at them.
The statement remarked that the correspondents conducted TV, radio and journalistic interviews with the residents, including sellers and buyers, in trade markets, ensuring the availability of different commodities and supply needs. Additionally, they interviewed citizens while practicing sports at Arish clubs and beaches.
Correspondents also visited al-Arish University and met a number of its professors and students who ensured the stability of the university and the regularity of the educational process.
Correspondents also met with students applying for military colleges while physically preparing for the admission tests with the support of the Armed Forces in Arish and Bir al-Abd.
The statement further remarked that the correspondents held a meeting with North Sinai’s governor on the comprehensive development operation done in north Sinai’s cities and villages, coinciding with the success of military operations carried out in the hotbeds of terrorists.
In the same context, the governor stressed that these operations have “not affected the daily lives of citizens or development projects, but rather it has raised their spirits and reaffirmed the cooperation and the trust between the citizens and the Armed Forces.”
“The foreign media, which have visited the governorate, are currently publishing and broadcasting the reports made by their correspondences on the continuation of the comprehensive development in Sinai and the stability made for their citizens in light of the success of military operations in eliminating the terrorist elements and hotbeds, destroying its infrastructure and reviving life in the regions where the operations are carried out,” added the statement.
During President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s inauguration of the Unified Command of East of the Canal to Combat Terrorism held on Feb. 26, Army Chief-of-Staff Mohamed Farid provided details about the comprehensive development plan in Sinai, according to the army’s statement.
Sisi was briefed on the forces and the command’s facilities before visiting the East of the Canal Command's headquarters, where tactics for the Comprehensive Operation Sinai 2018 are planned.
During the visit, Farid provided details about the planning and implementing measures of the operation with its results over the past 16 days to uproot terrorism from Sinai and to impose security control over land and coastal boundaries as well as hubs where weapons and ammunition are supplied and smuggled to terrorists.
He also referred to the cooperation between the armed forces and police to eliminate terrorism from Northern Sinai. He added that the operation has been implemented upon two phases; the first determined the strategic targets and trained the forces in basic field and fighting skills to confront terrorism in cooperation with the police.
He added that the Armed Forces coordinated with all of the country’s institutions to provide social and health insurance by supplying them with ambulances and logistical services and facilities along with providing financial compensations and exceptional pensions to Northern Sinai’s citizens to compensate for any negative effects arising from the operation.
Farid submitted a report on the operation’s results, stressing that it is implemented not only in Northern Sinai but from the Suez Canal to the eastern borders of Sinai, and the armed forces have achieved great success in it.
He further explained that the Armed Forces have distributed food supplies: 615 tons of food commodities through the National Service Products Organization, around 450 tons of wheat, 1,120 supplementary general food rations estimated as 5,000 food rations daily, 9,600 gas cylinders, and 35,000 liters of petrol.
As for the medical services, Farid added that 13 tons of medical liquid oxygen and 72 doctors were provided for hospitals especially in Rafah and Sheikh Zuweid and medications and vaccines were distributed. Additionally, two hospitals in Central Sinai were constructed.
In addition, 1,529 university students were transmitted from Sinai’s university to other universities across Egypt along with facilitating the legal measures for the citizens.
Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Ali el-Moselhi said that six supply administrations and 228 supply shops are provided for 444,000 Northern Sinai citizens in conjunction with the military operations, referring that 72 percent of the citizens have supply cards.
Furthermore, Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Waly said that the ministry has coordinated with 15 major civil organizations in Northern Sinai to financially support the citizens.
Minister of Housing Mostafa Madbouly referred to the national project aiming to develop Sinai and to attract local and international investments to Sinai based on Sisi’s directives and to Sinai’s 2052 territorial development plan, confirming that roads, archaeological sites and natural reserves in Sinai have been developed as a part of the plan.
Chairman of the Armed Forces Engineering Authorities Kamel al-Wazir reviewed several national projects implemented within the framework of Sinai’s comprehensive development plan, including establishing fish farms, industrial regions, Bardawil Airport in central Sinai, 15 hospitals and 8,000 housing units along with upgrading nine hospitals.
President Sisi affirmed that the comprehensive development for Sinai started in 2014 and will last until 2022, with a cost of LE 275 billion ($15.5 billion). He has called on Egyptian businessmen to invest in Sinai as the area is Egypt’s primary security issue.