Al-Sisi Declared a Three-Month State of Emergency After Two Deadly Bombings Hit Coptic Churches

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declared a three-month state of emergency after two deadly bombings hit Coptic churches on Sunday, killing at least 44 people.

Al- Sisi said in a speech aired on state television, “A series of steps will be taken, most notably, the announcement of a state of emergency for three months after legal and constitution steps are taken.”

Moreover, he also urged the media to refrain from coverage that could be harmful.

Al-Sisi said of media coverage,”Deal with the issue with credibility, and responsibility and awareness.” He added, “It’s not right what I’m seeing being repeated on all of our channels, and you know this hurts Egyptians.”

In addition, al-Sisi ordered troops be immediately deployed to assist police in securing vital facilities, in another move that clearly involves the military role in nearly every activity in Egypt.

Al-Sisi is Egypt’s former defense chief who led the military’s 2013 ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood’s President Mohamed Morsi.

Since he was elected in 2014, al-Sisi has been criticized for suppressing political opposition and human rights activists. Moreover, al-Sisi has sought to present himself as an indispensable bulwark against terrorism in the Middle East.

Sisi said in a statement,”The attack…will only harden the determination (of the Egyptian people) to move forward on their trajectory to realize security, stability and comprehensive development.”

On Sunday, Egypt was under attack as two bombing hit the country targeting two Coptic Churches.

The first bomb went off at a Coptic Christian church in the Nile Delta town of Tanta, killing at least 27 people and wounding over 70.

Hours after the first bomb, another bomb exploded at Saint Mark’s Cathedral in the coastal city of Alexandria, killing at least 17 people and wounding 38 just after Pope Tawadros II finished services, as reported by the Associated Press.

His aides later told local media that he had escaped unharmed.

The latest assault is real challenge to Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who has pledged to protect the Christians as part of his campaign against extremism.

The Copts were one of the major supporter to the military overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi, and they hoped that the al-Sisi’s era will bring them peace and security.

However, Christians weren’t saved despite al-Sisi’s warm words and promises.

Islamic State(IS) claimed its responsibility for the attacks via Amaq new agency, which is affiliated with the group, after it previously warned that it would step up attacks on Egypt’s Christians.

The militant group said that two of its fighters wearing suicide vests carried out the attacks, and it warned of more to come.

“Crusaders and their apostate allies should know the bill between us and them is very big and they will pay it with rivers of blood from their children, god willing. Wait for us, for we will wait for you,” the group said in a statement.

Last December, an Islamic State affiliate claimed a suicide bombing at a Cairo church that killed around 30 people, mostly women, as well as a killing several Christians in northern Sinai that caused hundreds of them to flee to safer areas of the country.

Since the 2013 military coup that overthrew the first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi, Egypt has struggled to combat a wave of Islamic militancy.

The Sinai-based IS affiliate, known as Sinai Province, has mainly attacked police and military soldiers, but has also claimed bombings that killed civilians, including the downing of a Russian passenger plane over the Sinai in 2015, which killed all 224 people on board and destructed Egypt’s tourism industry.

In fact, Egypt’s Copts are one of the oldest Christian communities in the Middle East. They have long complained of discrimination and that the government does not do enough to protect them.

It is noteworthy that Egyptian media had previously reported that the church in Tanta had been targeted in the past, with a bomb defused there in late March.