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Egypt to impose curfew on parts of northern Sinai

Last week, Egypt extended its state of emergency for three months [Getty]

Date of publication: 13 January, 2018

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Egypt's official gazette said authorities will impose a curfew on parts of the North Sinai region from Saturday, after the country extended its state of emergency.
Egypt will impose a curfew on parts of the North Sinai region from Saturday, reports confirmed,  after the country extended its state of emergency.

The curfew covers areas at the border town of Rafah near Gaza from 7pm to 6am and around the town of al-Arish from 1am to 5am, the official gazette said.

The latest move comes after Egypt's interior ministry said that clashes broke out when security forces raided a suspected militant hideout in the city of al-Arish, leading to the death eight suspected militants.

Last week, Egypt extended its state of emergency for three months to help tackle "the dangers and funding of terrorism".

The curfew will continue as long as the state of emergency is still in place, the gazette said.

Egypt has been battling a growing militant insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula since the overthrow of the elected former President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

An Islamic State group affiliate in Egypt has killed dozens of Christians in church bombings and shootings during the past year, and has threatened further attacks against the minority.

Last month, militants in northern Sinai killed 305 people in the deadliest assault by militants in Egypt's modern history, at a mosque near al-Arish.

After the mosque attack, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi instructed his military chief of staff to quell the attacks in three months using "complete brutal force".

"In three months, with God's grace, and with your help and sacrifices and those of the police, Egypt will restore stability and security in Sinai," Sisi said.

"Complete brutal force will be used. Complete brutal force."

The Sinai Peninsula had long been demilitarised under the terms of the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, but as the violence intensified the government responded by ramping up its military presence, with the tacit approval of Israel.

 

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