Sisi tries to reassure Egyptians despite host of challenges

February 22, 2015 21:59

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi sought to reassure Egyptians on Sunday that he is in control and steering the country on the right path in the face of Islamist militancy in neighboring Libya and the Sinai and economic challenges.

Sisi's speech was broadcast on prime time television and was interspersed with clips of him greeting leaders of wealthy Gulf Arab states, Western powers and Egyptian army officers.

His comments came after Islamic State militants beheaded up to 21 Egyptian Christians in neighboring Libya - bloodshed that provoked Egyptian airstrikes - and one of the worst attacks on security forces in the Sinai in months.

"The strike hit 13 targets that had been studied accurately," said Sisi, adding that the Egyptian army was not an aggressor and the attack was necessary.

Sisi said Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, part of the US-led coalition fighting Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, had offered military support to Cairo following the killing of Egyptians in Libya.

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