Sisi phones up TV station following brazen militant attack
Egypt's president has made a rare phone call with a local TV network in the wake of a brazen militant attack in the Sinai Peninsula.
Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said that the country faced a tough battle as it struggles "alone" against insurgents and the terror threat from an Islamic State group affiliate based in northern Sinai.
"We have been and are possibly still are facing a massive challenge all alone," Sisi said on Tuesday in a conversation with talk show host Amr Adib.
"We have known that this terrorism would come with great financial and human costs, as we're losing people and souls," he said, adding that there were around 30,000 stationed in Sinai.
He claimed that no "innocent" civilians have been killed in the past three years of counter-terrorism operations in the Peninsula.
When asked when Egyptian would take back their rights, Sisi said: "All of this and I haven't got you your rights back?"
The response prompted angry responses on social media from users who accused Sisi of running an authoritarian regime that has violently suppressed all opposition he came to power following the military takeover.
The interview was the third time Sisi has called the popular TV host, who has not shied away from criticising the President.
The assault involving a car bomb against a security checkpoint in the Sinai killed at least seven policemen and a civilian on Monday, the interior ministry said in an online statement.
The ministry said assailants tried driving a vehicle packed with explosives into a checkpoint, but police fired on it, setting it off before it reached the post.
The assailants also fired rocket-propelled grenades at the checkpoint in the North Sinai city of al-Arish.
Extremists have killed hundreds of soldiers and policemen since the 2013 military overthrow of Islamist president Mohammad Morsi, which unleashed a bloody crackdown on his supporters.