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Tuesday, March 14, 2017
"Egypt is on brink of ridding Sinai of terrorism," army general tells

"Egypt is on brink of ridding Sinai of terrorism," army general tells MPs
Gamal Essam El-Din , Tuesday 14 Mar 2017
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/260929/Egypt/Politics-/Egypt-is-on-brink-of-ridding-Sinai-of-terrorism,-a.aspx

Major General Mamdouh Shahin, the Egyptian defence minister's deputy for
legislative and constitutional affairs, told MPs on Tuesday that the army is
on the brink of eliminating terrorism in North Sinai.

In a meeting held by parliament's agriculture committee and attended by
governor of Ismailia Yassin Taher, Shahin said that "the elimination of
terrorism in North Sinai, which is very near, will pave the way for revoking
the emergency measures that have been in effect there since 2013."

The army has been battling an intensified Islamist insurgency in North Sinai
since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

Shahin told MPs that the government and the army are keen on seeing Sinai
become an attractive environment for investment.

"Sinai will see a lot of progress very soon in terms of economic development
after all terrorist elements in this integral part of Egypt are
obliterated," said Shahin.

Shahin said that "emergency measures, including long curfew hours, were
imposed in Sinai in order to safeguard its citizens against terrorism and
help prevent it from infiltrating all of Egypt."

However, Shahin said "the army has always been of the mind that emergency
measures in Sinai are to be implemented on a very limited scale so that the
citizens of Sinai can move easily and live a normal life."

MPs complained that most of the roads leading to North Sinai are in bad
condition and that it is very difficult for farmers there to use fertilisers
necessary to grow their crops.

Hesham El-Shini, head of parliament's agriculture committee, said that the
poor road conditions have led to hundreds of citizens losing their lives in
car accidents.

"It is hard for the citizens of North Sinai to suffer from both terrorism
and bad roads," said El-Shini.

El-Shini said the committee will send Minister of Defence Sedki Sobhi a
memorandum requesting that the army's engineering authority take charge of
renovating roads leading to Sinai.

MP Fathi Qandeel complained that farmers in both Sinai and Ismailia have
suffered much in recent years because they have not been allowed to use
"nitrate and urea fertilizers, which are necessary to grow their crops.

In response, Shahin said the army decided three years ago that "nitrate and
urea fertilisers be banned from use in Sinai and Ismailia after it had found
that they were used in manufacturing explosives."

Ismailia governor Yassin Taher said "it is highly dangerous that terrorists
get the material they need to manufacture explosives and use them near the
Suez Canal area – which is highly strategic to the Egyptian and the world
economy."

Taher said that "farmers in Sinai and the Suez Canal area can use other
kinds of fertilisers for the time being and terrorism is completely
obliterated."

Taher proposed that the Ministry of Agriculture set up a fertiliser
production factory in Ismailia to help provide farmers in Sinai with the
quantities they need and after making sure that they will not be used in any
terrorist activities.

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