CAIRO: Publishing news on the prosecution’s investigations into the Monday assassination of late Attorney-General Hisham Barakat has been banned, state-owned MENA reported.
The gag rule, ordered by Acting Attorney-General Ali Omran Thursday, aims to protect the integrity of investigations, a judicial source told MENA.
Newspapers, websites and TV channels are only allowed to report statements released by the public prosecution on the subject. The assassination was followed by wide-scale attacks on checkpoints in North Sinai on Wednesday.
It not the first time the prosecution has banned publishing news on high-profile cases. Meanwhile, military spokesperson Mohamed Samir also requested that Egyptian media does not disseminate news reported by foreign outlets.
Samir told Dream 2 channel Wednesday evening that rumors on the losses of the Egyptian military in the restive peninsula is part of the “fourth-generation warfare.”
“Operations centers have no time to provide us with information while managing the fighting, so during breaks, while managing the fight, they start to provide us with information. To give you precise and truthful information, it must take some time. We would like the media here to wait for that time… We hope that [the media] take this into account in the future,” said Samir.
A total of 17 soldiers were killed in simultaneous Wednesday attacks in North Sinai, and at least 100 militants were killed in subsequent clashes, according to the military statement.
Several news outlets reported figures of over 60 soldiers killed on Wednesday.
“The motives of the naïve terrorists who imagine they may destroy these checkpoints or, as was rumored, occupy buildings or control a piece of land, this only indicates the shallowness of the thought of these people because it is impossible for any reason that the Egyptian military allows one millimeter of the lands of Sinai lands to be seized,” Samir added.
The military account of Sinai attacks
“It is not a matter of strength; it is a matter of time because our combat doctrine prevents us from killing the innocent,” Samir, who made rare phone calls to several talk shows on Wednesday, told Dream 2 channel.
“At 7 in the morning, simultaneous attacks were launched with heavy armament on a number of checkpoints of Armed Forces security bases in north Sinai,” Samir said.
He added that while the assailants used rooftops of civilians to launch their attacks as well as anti-craft guns, the military “would never attack the innocent regardless how many casualties we incur,” adding that the army “would never succumb to retaliation or annihilation.”
“The heroes of the Armed Forces at all the checkpoints did well and defended them bravely and efficiently and succeeded to vanquish the attack,” Samir said, estimating the number of attackers at 300.
“Their lowly dreams are always that they want to inflict major losses or occupy a part; they want to achieve their hopes. But of course that reflects the shallowness of their thought, like I said. [The idea that] terrorist groups, regardless of their armament, type, ideology, strength, can defeat the Egyptian military in Sinai, this is illusions.”