Egypt extends state of emergency by 3 months
Egyptian lawmakers have approved an extension by another three months of a state of emergency that was imposed early last year following deadly attacks on Coptic Christians.
The lawmakers extended the law on Tuesday as local media said it would come into effect as of Saturday.
This is the third extension of the emergency situation as it had been renewed in October. Under Egypt’s law, a state of emergency can only be extended once but the country’s president has the power to reinstate it if deemed necessary.
The current emergency law came after a local affiliate of Daesh, a Takfiri terrorist group based in Iraq and Syria, killed at least 45 people in two bombings at churches in the cities of Tanta and Alexandria in April. The Daesh branch, which has operated mostly in the restive North Sinai, threatened after the attacks that there would be more violence targeting the minority Coptic Christians.
Some 30 Christians were killed in May on their way to a desert monastery south of the capital Cairo after they came under attack by militants. At least nine people were also killed in a gun attack last month by Daesh on a church south of Cairo. The group also claimed an attack at a church during Sunday prayers in December in Cairo. It left 29 people killed.
However, Christians have not been the sole group suffering from the attacks by Daesh and other militants. More than 300 Muslim worshippers were massacred at a mosque last November in what was described as the most high-profile attack on civilians in Egypt’s modern history.
Militancy gained a momentum in Egypt when the former head of the armed forces, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, came to power as president in 2014. Many blame him for the continued unrest, saying his hard-handed crackdown on those deemed close to Egypt’s former President Mohamed Morsi has fueled the insurgency in Sinai and also on the mainland.