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Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Rowda attack galvanizes Egypt’s allies

Could the attack help lift a freeze on military aid from the US? “The 24 November attack on an Egyptian mosque in northern Sinai that killed at least 305 men, women and children is an example of why the United States must remain involved in the Middle East,” Department of Defense spokesperson Rob Manning said on Monday. “The United States must help partner nations build their own defense and police capacity to ensure [Daesh], Al Qaeda and like-minded groups cannot plan and carry out attacks,” he said. While the statement from the Pentagon does not mention the over USD 200 mn in military and other aid the US froze earlier this year (ostensibly on human rights grounds), it could at the very least open the conversation on unfreezing the aid.

The statements is one of a series by Egypt’s close allies promising further assistance following the attack. Most recently, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi discussed regional cooperation on counter-terrorism with UAE Defense Minister Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed on Monday, Ahram Online reports. Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince had vowed on Sunday to intensify efforts to fight terrorism by the KSA-led Sunni Muslim military alliance, while Israeli officials noted that the cabinet will decide on how to “lend Egypt a hand” in the fight in Sinai. Officials from across the globe, including Pyongyang, continued to convey their condolences to President El Sisi.

Here at home, the House of Representatives’ defense and constitution committees are preparing a bill to ensure the families of terror attack victims receive compensation through a special fund, Al Mal reports. MPs discussed the fallout from Friday’s attack and the government’s response actions during an emergency plenary session yesterday. House Speaker Ali Abdel Aal called on MPs to visit North Sinai and perform Friday prayers at the mosque that was attacked.

In related news, police foiled two separate attempted attacks on security checkpoints in the North Sinai’s city of Arish late Monday, killing three terrorists.

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