President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi tackled various issues in a wide-spanning 40-minute speech Sunday night, including the airstrikes in Libya, as well as shortcomings on the part of the authorities in particular instances last month.
During the speech, he began with an update on the situation in Libya, where he said: “The airstrike managed to precisely attack 13 locations of the Islamic State in Libya.”
Last week, “Islamic State” in Libya released a video depicting the alleged murder of 20 Egyptian workers in Libya. A few hours later, at dawn on Monday, the Egyptian armed forces announced an airstrike on IS locations in the village of Derna, in northern Libya.
“I would not have accepted condolences for our martyrs in Libya, before fiercely retaliating for their murder,” Al-Sisi said in his speech.
On the internal security level, where some Sinai-based rebel troops have announced allegiance to “Islamic State”, Al-Sisi said that the military forces are present at every border to protect the people. “Sinai will never be fully renovated without eliminating all the terroristic spots,” he added.
The president also highlighted some of the latest events in February, such as the Air Defence Stadium tragedy, and the killing of Shaimaa Al-Sabbagh in January, ahead of the fourth anniversary of the 25 January Revolution.
“Every official will be held accountable for their shortcomings,” Al-Sisi said referring to the two incidents.
According to Amnesty International, at least 16,000 people were detained in Egypt on counts of “terrorism” amid a sweeping crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood group, in the wake of the overthrow of their regime and the dispersal of their supporters sit-ins across Cairo and Giza.
Many of those detained were simply arrested on mere suspicion from the policemen of belonging to the Brotherhood, according to the rights watchdog.
Detainees have also been suffering deteriorating health conditions inside their prison cells, partially due to overcrowding. The Forensic Medicine Authority said 52 people died inside places of detention in 2014.
“I am sure there are many innocent people inside prisons,” the president said in his speech. “Soon many of them will be released according to the available permissions,” he added, noting that he does not interfere in judicial affairs.
Al-Sisi also reviewed several achievements on the regional and local level in terms of public service and economic empowerment. He said many debts were defaulted for small farmers, as well as allocating EGP 100m in efforts to resolve the widespread issue of street children.
The Central Agency of Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) reported 13% of Egyptians unemployed, and approximately 27.8% of youth live in poverty, while 24.1% live near the poverty line.
Al-Sisi said there will be new sales outlets for the unemployed youth at the required locations. Moreover, he said the new investment law is expected to resolve the bureaucratic hardships faced by news investors.
On the international level, Al-Sisi highlighted in his speech the support Egypt has received over the past year, particularly from the Gulf countries.
He also extended his respects to the French president for the Rafale fighter jets agreement. Additionally, he noted that in few months Egypt will host the Chinese president.
At the end of his speech, he highlighted the upcoming events, including the Economic Summit in March, and the parliamentary elections, which are also scheduled next month.
“The positive competition in the upcoming elections shall not let us divide as Egyptians,” he said.