On Monday, the armed forces commemorated the first anniversary of the death of 16 border guards in Rafah, killed during the holy month of Ramadan last year.
Major General Ahmed Bahaa Al-Din Al-Qassas gave a speech in front of families of the deceased soldiers in which he praised the soldiers for their courage and for sacrificing their lives for the sake of Egypt.
He added that they represent the principals and values of the armed forces.
Families of the soldiers demanded punishment of all those responsible for the attack, adding that the army operations in Sinai were the only consolation for them.
Al-Qassas honoured the soldiers’ families in a ceremony attended by Director of Veterans’ Association Major General Nabil Al-Khamisy and a number of army leaders, according to army spokesman Colonel Ahmed Ali.
Al-Qassas also conveyed the regards of Minister of Defence General Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi to the attendees adding that Al-Sisi appreciated the soldiers’ loyalty to the country and to their duty.
“The true appreciation of the lives of the soldiers would be through restoring security in Sinai and revealing the identities of their attackers,” wrote former presidential candidate Amr Moussa on his official Twitter account.
Ali had published a video tribute to the 16 border guards on his official Facebook page. The video titled “Rafah Martyrs” shows the soldiers’ photos and names. Ali wrote “on their first anniversary, you sacrificed your lives for Egypt…we will not forget you,” he added that their deaths won’t be in vain.
16 Border guards were killed on 5 August last year near the Israeli border as they were having iftar, an incident which shocked the nation. Former president Mohamed Morsi announced a state of national mourning after the attack.
“At the time of breaking the fast during the call for Maghreb prayers on Sunday, 5 August, the 17th day of Ramadan, a terrorist group of 35 armed men attacked one of the border guards’ gathering areas on the Egyptian border in south Rafah which led to the death of 16 soldiers. Seven were injured, three of whom are in critical condition, and all have been transferred to hospitals,” the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces announced in a televised statement after the incident.
The attack was followed by wide security operations in the peninsula. However, no details on the identities or affiliations of the culprits were announced.