August 5 was a black Sunday in the history of the people of Egypt, a country that has a rich cultural heritage that dates back 8,000 years. The Egyptian people cried on that day because they lost a number of their countrymen for no clear political, security or even economic reason.
At least 15 army officials and soldiers were killed and another seven injured in a horrific terror attack. Armed gunmen, whose identity is still unknown, came from Gaza and Sinai and launched an armed assault on a border post close to Gaza and Israel while the Egyptian soldiers were eating their Iftar meal.
Egyptian officials believe that the attack was orchestrated by the Jihadis who infiltrated from the Gaza Strip through the border tunnels, together with Jihadis from the mountainous regions of Al-Mahdiya and Jabal Al-Halal in the Sinai.
According to an official source, after attacking the Sinai border post and gunning down the soldiers, the gunmen tried to escape to Gaza after commandeering two Egyptian vehicles when they ran into armed forces. The first vehicle was said to have exploded on the Egyptian side of the border crossing, killing four attackers while the remaining gunmen fled after leaving the vehicle behind.
World media gave extensive coverage to the incident. As usual, condolence messages were issued, in addition to a flurry of statements expressing condemnation, denunciation and rejection.
But the Egyptian people are still crying! They have yet to get over the shock and are asking: Is this what our soldiers get for protecting their country?
This tragic incident reminds me of the position of a sovereign president, represented by Gamal Abdel Nasser, on a similar occasion. Following a political standoff between the leaders of Egypt and Palestine in the 1960s, a group of Fatah men detained and kidnapped a number of Egyptian diplomats in Madrid. They then issued an ultimatum to the Egyptian government asking it to fulfill a number of their demands as a condition to release the captives.
The issue was immediately brought to the notice of Abdel Nasser, and he ordered the representative of Fatah in Egypt and a number of rich Palestinian nationals living in Egypt to come and meet him. He then threatened them with war by saying: “I am giving you a 12-hour deadline to get the Egyptian hostages released. Otherwise, I will issue an order to detain all Palestinians living in Egypt without any exception and I will confiscate all of their property in Egypt.” After saying this, he abruptly left the office without uttering another word.
What happened then? Within one hour, all the diplomats were released and Fatah tendered an official public apology.
Can any political leader of Egypt now take such a position, a masculine position, a position of leadership that can dry the tears of the Egyptian people?
Between the lines, the Egyptian official source hinted at the characteristic features of the group that committed the crime. The Egyptian people demand the arrest of these criminals. They want the Camp David Peace Treaty to be reviewed and they demand that it be revoked if Israel refuses to come to terms. They refuse to be deprived of their national security.
The people of Egypt want the authorities to apprehend those responsible for the terror attack in Sinai and execute them in Tahrir Square.
Hassan Tahsin is an Egyptian writer and political analyst. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.