Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Sunday warned those destabilizing security in the Sinai “not to be fooled” by his apparent “patience,” the Egypt Independent reported.
“Some still think that our eyes are not wide open,” Morsi wrote on Twitter. “But do not be deceived by my forbearance, for this matter concerns our homeland which we will spare no effort to protect.”
Morsi's comments came a day after three policemen were killed
and a fourth injured in an attack by armed men on a police car in Arish.
That attack led Egypt's interior minister on Sunday to sack the head of North Sinai security, security sources said. General Samih Bishady took over from General Ahmed Bakr as the chief of the security department, they stated.
Since Hosni Mubarak was ousted in a popular uprising in 2011, Islamists in the Sinai have stepped up attacks on security forces in the region near the Israeli border.
Israeli officials, already worried at having an Islamist in charge of nation with which they signed a peace deal in 1979, have voiced concern about lax security.
Egyptian authorities have been searching for armed militants since the ambush and killing of 16 border guards on Aug. 5. The government sent troops backed up by tanks, armored vehicles and helicopters to raid militant hideouts, arrest suspects and seize weapons in the biggest security operation in Sinai.
Efforts to impose central authority in the lawless desert region are complicated by the indigenous Bedouin population's ingrained hostility to the government in Cairo.