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Egypt Extends State of Emergency for 3 Months

Egypt Extends State of Emergency for 3 Months

Monday, 25 June, 2018 - 06:45
A general view of Egypt's parliament in Cairo, Egypt. (Reuters)
Cairo - Mohammed Abdo Hassanein
Egypt’s parliament approved on Sunday the extension of a nationwide state of emergency for three months, starting from July 14.

Egypt imposed the emergency in 2017 after two church bombings killed at least 45 people. It was last extended in April.

Egypt faces an ISIS insurgency in the remote North Sinai region that has killed hundreds of soldiers and policemen in recent years and has expanded to include attacks on civilians.

The Egyptian constitution stipulates that the extension of the state of emergency requires the approval of the parliament by a two-thirds majority.

Parliament Speaker Ali Abdelaal announced on Sunday that President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi’s decision on the state of emergency was approved by more than two thirds of lawmakers, meaning the required conditions were met.

“The circumstances that first led to the imposing of the emergency state still stand and it was therefore necessary to extend it,” he explained.

For years, Egypt witnessed bombings and violence in various parts of the country, especially in the border province of North Sinai, which has become a terrorist hotbed since the overthrow of former President Mohamed Morsi, of Muslim Brotherhood.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis is one of the most active terror groups in Sinai. In 2014, it pledged allegiance to ISIS and renamed itself ISIS-Sinai Province.

Since February, the army and police have been waging a major security operation in northern and central Sinai to clear the area of militants. The operation is known as the "Comprehensive Operation - Sinai 2018".

During a parliamentary session Sunday, lawmakers praised the efforts of the army and police forces in fighting terrorism, stressing that "the extension of the state of emergency aims to protect the country and its borders, ensure security and freedoms of citizens and eliminate terrorists and outlaws."

Abdelaal paid tribute to the armed forces and police and saluted fallen soldiers, stressing that parliament must always support the military.

A state of emergency law greatly extends police powers of arrest and can allow restrictions on freedom of movement.

First deputy chairman of the Egypt's Support coalition MP Taher Abu Zeid said that it is crucial to take into consideration current developments in the region. He pointed out that the armed and security forces are bravely fighting terrorism and outlaws.

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