Egypt’s interior minister orders heightening security measures ahead of New Year, Christmas celebrations

Ahram Online , Thursday 30 Dec 2021

Egypt’s Interior Minister Mahmoud Tawfik raised the national security alert to the highest level ahead of New Year and Christmas celebrations.

File Photo: A special forces police officer stands guard to secure the area around Saint Mark s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral before a Coptic Christmas mass in Cairo. Reuters

In a meeting with a number of his assistants and other top security officials on Wednesday, Tawfik ordered maximum vigilance and intensified measures to secure vital facilities, places of worship, and tourist destinations.

He also ordered tightening control over the roads leading to these institutions.

The minister affirmed the importance of ensuring good treatment of citizens and respecting their human rights while implementing the security strategy.

Coptic Egyptians, who make up the largest portion of Christians in the country, celebrate Christmas on 7 January.

Egypt is also home to a number of other denominations, which observe Christmas on 25 December.

Following the 30 June Revolution in 2013, several terrorist attacks targeted churches, police and army personnel, as well as other civilians, especially during annual religious holidays.

Attacks, however, have significantly declined over recent years.

On Tuesday, Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church announced that it would hold the Christmas mass on 6 January at the Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ at the New Administrative Capital due to COVID-19 concerns.

The mass will be broadcast live on television, according to news reports.

The church added that it will not receive well-wishers for the same reason.

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