Egypt’s Sisi declares three-month state of emergency after blasts #EgyptTurmoil

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Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi sits in the Oval Office before a meeting with US President Donald Trump at the White House on April 3, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski

Cii Radio| Ayesha Ismail| 10 April 2017| 12 Rajab 1438

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declared a three-month state of emergency in Egypt after twin church bombings that killed dozens of people in two cities on Sunday.

Sisi announced the “state of emergency for three months” in a defiant speech at the presidential palace after a meeting of the national defence council.

The Islamic State (IS) group had claimed responsibility for the Coptic Christian church bombings in the Nile Delta cities of Alexandria and Tanta in which at least 44 people were killed.

The emergency law expands police powers of arrest, surveillance and seizures and can limit freedom of movement.

Sunday’s attacks coincided with one of the holiest days in the Christian calendar, marking the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, the BBC said.

The attacks also come weeks before an expected visit by Pope Francis intended to show support for the country’s Christian minority, the BBC said. He has condemned the explosions.

Egypt had been ruled for decades under a state of emergency, which was cancelled a month before Islamist president Mohamed Morsi took power in 2012.

Rescinding it had been a main demand of Egyptian rights activists during the 2011 revolt that overthrew veteran strongman Hosni Mubarak.

Following Morsi’s overthrow by Sisi, then an army chief, in 2013, a state of emergency was declared for a month after deadly clashes between police and Islamist protesters killed hundreds and Islamist mobs attacked Christian properties.

Part of North Sinai, where IS’s Egyptian affiliate is based, has remained under a state of emergency.

Source – Middle East eye