KUWAIT CITY, Jan 17, (Agencies): His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah sent a cable of condolences Tuesday to Egyptian President Abdelfatah el-Sisi after a terrorist attack against security forces in Egypt’ New Valley Governorate.
His Highness the Amir prayed for the security personnel killed in the attack and wished for the speedy recovery of the injured. His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Hamad Al-Sabah sent similar cables. At least eight policemen were killed and three wounded in an attack by Islamist militants on a security checkpoint in Egypt’s New Valley province in the Western Desert, the Interior Ministry said on Monday. State television said the attack took place at around 8:15 pm in the Naqb checkpoint more that 600 kms (370 miles) southwest of Cairo. At least two of the attackers were killed, the Interior Ministry said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
Egypt is facing a more than three-year-old Islamist insurgency led by Islamic State after general-turned-President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi led the military in ousting Islamist president Mohammad Morsi after mass protests against his rule. The insurgency is largely contained in the Sinai Peninsula, far from where Monday’s attack took place. Hundreds of soldiers and police have been killed. There have been occasional attacks however in the Western Desert which borders chaotic neighbour Libya where Islamic State is also active. Security officials say militants operating from Libya are trying to forge ties with Islamists in the Sinai, an alliance that could prolong Egypt’s instability and scare away tourists and investors who are needed to help fix a battered economy. In another development, el-Sisi will reshuffle his cabinet soon, he told state newspapers in an interview published on Tuesday. “Yes, there will be a reshuffle and very soon … We will fix what needs fixing and improve performance,” Sisi said, without giving more details.
The last cabinet reshuffle took place in March, when Sisi named 10 new ministers including for the finance and investment portfolios. Egypt is struggling to revive an economy that has been battered by an acute foreign currency crisis since a popular uprising in 2011 drove away tourists and foreign investors. The central bank floated the pound in November and the government is pushing ahead with painful economic reforms after securing a $12 billion loan programme with the International Monetary Fund in November. These include fuel price hikes and the introduction of a value-added tax (VAT). Egypt is also battling Islamist insurgents in the Sinai who pledged allegiance to Islamic State in 2014 and are blamed for killing hundreds of Egyptian soldiers and police since then.