EGYPT Mursi sacks spy chief, Sinai governor after attacks
Security forces launch campaign against insurgents
Cairo: Egypt’s President Mohammad Mursi sacked his national intelligence chief, two generals and the governor of north Sinai region on Wednesday after gunmen killed 16 border guards there on Sunday, a presidency spokesman said.
Mursi vowed to restore security to Sinai after the incident on Sunday, which officials blamed on militants who have stepped up attacks on security forces since the overthrow of his predecessor Hosni Mubarak last year.
Mursi’s spokesman said the president ordered intelligence chief Murad Muwafi to retire, and the replacement of the Republican Guard’s chief as well as the head of the military police, Major General Hamdi Badeen.
The spokesman, Yassir Ali, said Mursi wanted Badeen sacked because of bungling at a military funeral for the slain soldiers during which protesters tried to assault Prime Minister Hesham Qandil.
Mursi also sacked the governor of North Sinai, Abdul Wahab Mabruk.
Earlier in the day, security forces launched unprecedented air strikes on insurgents in the Sinai. Scores of the suspected militants were killed in the offensive in which the Egyptian army used warplanes for the first time in decades, according to security sources.
“It is hard to give an accurate estimate of the casualties because the strikes targeted mountainous areas in central Sinai,” a security source said.
“It is like a war in which different weapons were used,” added the source on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.
Egyptian police have also arrested a Canadian student in Sinai on suspicion of involvement in the ambush.
Officials said the man, identified as David Edward, was in possession of an Egyptian identification card belonging to someone else and had taken pictures of armoured personnel vehicles.
A Canadian embassy official said he could not confirm or deny the arrest, due to privacy reasons.
The officials said Edward entered the country on Sunday, the day militants killed the soldiers in an ambush, and was a student at a Canadian university.