Egypt extends North Sinai state of emergency for 3rd time this year

Ahram Online , Wednesday 28 Oct 2015

The state of emergency was originally implemented in 2013 following an increase in Islamist attacks on security personnel and installations in North Sinai

A helicopter flies overhead as soldiers in military vehicles proceed towards al-Jura district in El-Arish city from Sheikh Zuwaid, around 350 km (217 miles) northeast of Cairo May 21, 2013 (Reuters)

Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi announced on Wednesday in the country’s official gazette that a state of emergency has been extended for a further three months in parts of North Sinai.

The northern part of the mountainous Sinai Peninsula has been the epicentre of an Islamist insurgency that spiked following the 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi after mass protests against his one year rule.

The violence has killed hundreds of soldiers and policemen in the restive region.

The measure was first introduced in August 2013 when violent unrest gripped the country following Morsi's removal. It has since been continually extended. This year, it was extended in January, April and July.

The state of emergency will cover Al-Arish and other surrounding areas. It went into effect on Tuesday, 27 October.

A nighttime curfew in place in the same areas from 7:00 pm (1700 GMT) and 6:00 am (0400 GMT) has also been extended. Only Al-Arish will see a four-hour curfew starting from 1:00 am.

On Saturday, three police officers were killed and eight injured, when a roadside bomb targeting their armoured vehicle detonated in Al-Arish. Suspected militants on a motorcycle shot dead the parliamentary candidate of the ultraconservative Salafist Nour party on the same day.

In October last year Egypt's army started to create a wide buffer zone in the town of Rafah, demolishing thousands of homes along the border with the Palestinian Gaza Strip. Authorities say the move is aimed at preventing the infiltration of militants and arms smuggling through tunnels extending under the border.

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