Egypt extends state of emergency in North Sinai

An Egyptian soldier guards the border between Egypt and southern Gaza Strip. (File photo: Reuters)

Egypt said on Saturday it had extended by three months a state of emergency imposed on parts of Northern Sinai in October after Islamist militants stepped up attacks in the peninsula bordering Israel, Gaza and the Suez Canal, according to Agence France-Presse.

The decision, announced by Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb in a written decree on Saturday, will be implemented in Rafah, al-Arish, Sheikh Zuweid and surrounding areas starting on Sunday. It also extends a night-time curfew in place in the same areas.

The measure was first introduced after 33 security personnel were killed in an attack in late October at a checkpoint in northern Sinai. It was extended three months in January and again in April.

The October attack was claimed by Sinai Province, an affiliate of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which earlier changed its name from Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis. The group, which aims to topple the government in Cairo, has mainly focused on targets in Sinai.

Roadside bombing

The announcement came shortly before a roadside bombing in the Sinai Peninsula wounded 18 police conscripts.

Security officials said the blast Sunday morning targeted a bus carrying the conscripts in El-Arish as they traveled along a seafront road.

Hospital officials confirmed the casualty figure and said none of those hurt had life-threatening wounds.

Insurgents have killed hundreds of soldiers and policemen in Sinai since mid-2013, lashing out after then-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ousted Islamist President Mohammed Mursi following mass protests against his rule.

Sisi went on to be elected president last year and says militancy poses an existential threat to Egypt, the most populous Arab country.
 

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:46 - GMT 06:46
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