A picture taken on November 25, 2017, shows the Rawda mosque, roughly 40 kilometres west of the North Sinai capital of El-Arish, after a gun and bombing attack. (AFP PHOTO)
CAIRO, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi ordered the army's chief of staff on Wednesday to restore security and stability in the restive part of the Sinai Peninsula within three months.
"I bear you responsible before all the Egyptian people to restore security and stability in Sinai within three months," Sisi spoke directly to Chief of Staff Mohamed Farid Hegazy while delivering a speech aired on the Egyptian state TV.
"You and the Interior Ministry are responsible for that," Sisi continued, assigning part of the responsibility to the police as well, allowing both to use all kinds of massive force to achieve Sinai's security and stability.
Made on the occasion of Prophet Mohammad's birthday celebrated by Muslims worldwide, Sisi's remarks came less than a week after a terrorist attack against a mosque in North Sinai killed at least 305 Muslim worshippers, including children, and wounded over 120 others.
"Marking the birthday of the Prophet of mercy this year comes a few days after a painful attack that grieved our hearts and shocked the whole world. It is a cowardly terrorist attack that targeted worshippers at one of the places of worship. It's been committed by criminals stripped of the least meanings of humanity," Sisi told the attendees, including top police, army and religious officials.
Later military and police raids in reprisal for Friday's mosque attack left about two dozens of terrorists dead and a similar number of suspects arrested.
On Tuesday, police and military raids in the provinces of North Sinai, Ismailia and Sharqiya killed 14 terrorists and arrested 14 other suspects.
A police statement said that six of them were arrested in North Sinai while plotting terrorist activities and "a series of aggressive operations against the state's vital institutions as well as Coptic churches to negatively affect the security and economic conditions in the country."
Although no group has yet claimed responsibility for the mosque attack, fingers are pointed at a Sinai-based group loyal to the Islamic State (IS) regional terrorist group, which has claimed most of the large terrorist operations in Egypt over the past few years.
Sisi said that Egypt has been fighting terrorism over the past few years that affected the progress of the country's development and economic growth.
He added that 12 countries have been suffering terrorism for long years that dramatically affected their security and stability, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya.
"At least 250 billion U.S. dollars are required for Syria's reconstruction," Sisi said, noting that terrorism can ruin countries in a way that armies cannot do.
Terror attacks rose in Egypt following the military ouster of former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 in response to mass protests against his one-year rule and his currently outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group.
Since then, most of the attacks focused on restive North Sinai and killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers, before they later extended to other provinces and targeted the Copts at churches and most recently the Muslims at a mosque.