Egyptian cabinet passes anti-terror law
The Egyptian government has adopted a new controversial anti-terror law following the assassination of a senior prosecutor in the North African country.
The law, which was passed on Wednesday, has yet to be ratified by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who has vowed tougher laws after state prosecutor Hisham Barakat was killed in a bombing in the capital, Cairo, on June 29.
According to Egyptian media reports, the anti-terrorism law would further empower prosecutors to detain suspects for long periods of time and allow authorities to inspect the bank accounts of those accused of terror-related charges.
The adoption of the new law comes as the ISIL terror group launched a wave of attacks Wednesday on Egyptian soldiers in the restive Sinai Peninsula, killing at least 70 people.
The clashes erupted between the Takfiri militants and police and soldiers on the streets of the North Sinai town of Sheikh Zuweid, located about 334 kilometers (214 miles) northeast of Cairo, after the extremists hit military checkpoints in a surprise attack early in the morning.
The victims of the Sinai attacks included several civilians, according to security and medical officials, who said nearly 40 militants were also killed.
“It’s unprecedented, in the number of terrorists involved and the type of weapons they are using,” said an unnamed senior military official.
Also on Wednesday, police forces raided an apartment in the capital and killed senior Muslim Brotherhood member Nasser al-Houfi along with eight others.
Muslim Brotherhood was banned as a terrorist organization in late 2013 after the army toppled the government of Egypt’s first democratically-elected president Mohamed Morsi in July of the same year.
Security has deteriorated across the North African country since the ouster of Morsi.
Militants from the Velayat Sinai terror group, previously known as the Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, have claimed responsibility for most of the attacks in Sinai Peninsula. Last November, the group pledged allegiance to the ISIL, which is wreaking havoc mainly in Iraq and Syria.