A former army commander has described the decision to launch a military operation in Sinai as "political", explaining that the decision was made by the army in response to the inaction of the authorities.
In an interview on a satellite channel on Monday evening, Tayseer al-Tobgy accused President Mohamed Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood of attempting to set the army up for war with civilians.
He insisted that this will never happen and that the army is capable of returning the kidnapped soldiers, promising to deal harshly with the kidnappers.
Seven security members were abducted on Thursday by militants who demanded the release of political prisoners.
The army sent reinforcements to the Sinai Peninsula on Monday after President Mohamed Mursi dismissed negotiations with militant Islamists.
President Mohamed Mursi has vowed to consider all options to release the officers, insisting that the government will not be blackmailed.