Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi fired the country's intelligence chief, Maj. Gen. Murad Mowafi, and the governor of Northern Sinai, Abdel Wahab Mabrouk, on Wednesday following the deadly weekend attack at a checkpoint near Egypt’s border with Israel and Gaza Strip. Extremist groups in the Sinai Peninsula, receiving Palestinian support from the Gaza Strip, are suspected in the attack.
Presidential spokesman Yasser Ali told reporters that Mowafi was dismissed following the recent events and in order to defend the revolution.
Gen. Mohammed Refat Shahata was appointed as the new General Intelligence Directorate.
Earlier, the former head of the Egyptian Intelligence Services, said Egypt had received information that extremist Islamic militants would attack the Egyptian army's security checkpoints in Sinai Peninsula.
Mowafi stressed that the assailants belong to an extremist Islamic faction that is based on both Gaza and Sinai.
"Yes. We had information on the attack, but we never imagined that a Muslim would kill a Muslim during the meal to end the fast day," said Mowafi.
Furthermore, Egypt's president also ordered interior minister to appoint Maged Mostafa Kamel Noah as his central security head and Osama al-Sughiar as his Cairo assistant.
According to presidential spokesman Yassir Ali, Morsi also ordered Defense Minister Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi to appoint a new head of military police to replace general Hamdy Badeen, AFP news reported.
The presidential spokesman also said that Morsi wanted Badeen sacked because of the bungled military funeral for the slain soldiers on Tuesday, in which protesters tried to assault the Prime Minister Hisham Kandil.
According to witnesses who attended the funeral, some mourners who held Morsi's administration responsible for the deaths rushed at the attending prime minister and other Islamist politicians as they left a mosque. Some mourners pelted Kandil with shoes while others held their shoes high, pointing their soles at him in a gesture of contempt, before he was whisked away by aides.
Earlier on Wednesday, in one of the largest military operation since 1973, Egyptian warplanes reportedly pounded the hideouts of gunmen in the area of Sheikh Zuwayed, east of al-Arish, killing 20 of them.
A senior military official in Sinai confirmed the state television report and said 20 terrorists were killed in Apache helicopter raids and when soldiers from the 2nd Infantry Division stormed Tumah village near Sheikh Zuwayed.
He said the terrorists were trying to escape when the helicopter targeted their vehicles.
In related news, director of policy and political-military affairs at the Israel ministry of defense, Amos Gilad, said that the security cooperation between Israel and Egypt is continuing, in line with the peace treaty between the two countries.
Gilad added that it was nevertheless the responsibility of Egyptian army to ensure security in Sinai Peninsula and uproot terrorism in the area, Israeli radio reported.