Egypt’s Sisi calls for new measures against terrorism following assassination

Deputy Minister Ayoub Kara sends condolence letter to Egyptian president.

Abdul Fattah Sisi (photo credit: REUTERS)
Abdul Fattah Sisi
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called on Tuesday for new legal measures to crack down against an unrelenting Islamist insurgency.
He issued the call at the military funeral for a top public prosecutor who was assassinated in a bomb attack the day before.
“We’ll amend the legislation in a way that will enable us to enforce the law and justice as quickly as possible,” said Sisi while standing next to the family of Hisham Barakat, who security sources said was killed by a bomb in a parked car that was remotely detonated as he left his home.
“We’re facing terrorism, [and] therefore there must be laws that parallel that and trials that parallel that. We will not take five to 10 years to try those killing us,” said the Egyptian president.
“We will respect the law, but we will amend it so that it’s parallel to what we’re facing,” he added.
The government had announced a holiday on Tuesday to mark the anniversary of mass unrest that led to president Mohamed Morsi’s fall, but Sisi’s office canceled celebrations and Cairo streets remained largely empty. Judicial sources said the amendments would restrict the number of appeals to one from two and give judges the final say on which witnesses could testify. Amnesty International released a report on Tuesday accusing the authorities of jailing young activists to quell unrest, charges the government denies.
Barakat led the legal battle against the banned Muslim Brotherhood movement and was responsible for referring Morsi, top leader Mohamed Badie, and other Brotherhood leaders to trial, reported the Mada Masr website. Some of these trials ended with the death penalty verdicts. Barakat was chief prosecutor under former president Hosni Mubarak and was removed when Morsi came to power in 2012 and then reinstated after Morsi’s ouster.
The Brotherhood denies any link to violence and says it is committed to peaceful activism. Its spokesman said on the group’s Facebook page it rejected killing, but that responsibility for the attack on the public prosecutor lay with the authorities. In the wake of the assassination, the Tahrir Square’s Sadat metro station was closed on Tuesday after it had been reopened earlier this month following its closure since pro-Morsi protests were dispersed in 2013, Egyptian media reported.
Likud Deputy Minister Ayoub Kara, the acting minister of the Regional Cooperation Ministry, sent a condolence letter to Sisi regarding the senior official’s assassination, saying that “terrorism has become an existential threat to the world.”
Kara thanked Sisi on behalf of Israelis for his stand against religious extremism. Meanwhile, violence continued in Sinai on Tuesday as a mortar shell hit a house near a security base near Sheikh Zuweid, killing two children and wounding three, medical sources said, according to the Aswat Masriya website.The bodies of three others were found in the same area, according to tribal sources.
Separately, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry emphasized in a meeting on Tuesday with the Middle East Quartet the importance of countering terrorism and said that there would be “no stability and security in the region without a lasting and just solution to the Palestinian issue,” according to a Foreign Ministry statement sent to Daily News Egypt.
Shoukry also argued that it is of “critical importance to stop settlement activity in the occupied territories.”
The Middle East Quartet, comprising the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia, has been seeking to mediate in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since 2002.
Reuters contributed to this report