President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi of Egypt has declared a state of emergency planned to run for three months after fatal bombings of the Palm Sunday church. The so-called Islamic State has claimed responsibility of the attack which killed at least 43 people.
The President’s declaration of the state of emergency represents the seriousness with which the government places towards fighting the militants. The group’s simmering war against the government has made it virtually impossible to stabilize a country battling with economic hardship after years of unrest.
The state of emergency gives power to authorities to arrest people and search their homes without requiring any warrant. The parliament has to approve it before it is implemented.
This is by far the deadliest attack the country has faced ever since the election of El-Sisi in 2014. They point to the possibility of the militants diversifying their operations at a time when Egyptians may be losing patience with reforms. The country’s economy was made worse back in November after a move to float the currency.
‘Bear the pain’
While delivering a televised speech, the President urged all the Egyptians to “bear the pain”. The speech was made after a meeting with the national defence council to deliberate on the matter.
He said that battling jihadists will be a “long and painful” journey and that the state of emergency will only be implemented once all the legal requirements are met. Mr. Sisi enjoys support from majority of the MPs.
He had earlier on signed a military deployment notice with which “vital and important infrastructure” will be kept safe.
It seems as though ISIS carefully chose the attack day to coincide with one of the holiest weeks in the Christian calendar. This is a day that symbolizes Jesus Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem.
According to a statement claiming responsibility of the attack, ISIS stated that two of their suicide bombers were assigned to execute the attack. One was sent to St George’s Coptic Church in the northern city of Tanta, where he killed 27 people.
The other was stationed to St Mark’s Coptic Church in Alexandria, also in the north but was halted by the police before he could get in. He blew himself into pieces from outside and left 17 people dead, including a number of police officers.
Reuters news agency quoted a statement from the jihadist group which read – “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.”
United States Support
These bombings took place a few days after a meeting between El-Sisi and Donald Trump at the White House. The U.S. President praised him for the steps he has taken in combating terrorism.
But after the Sunday attack, Trump tweeted that he is saddened by the terrorist attack in Egypt, adding that he has full confidence in El-Sisi’s ability to handle the situation effectively. He later on made a phone call to Egypt’s president and expressed his condolences and support.
The Islamic State targeted two major cities just in the outskirts of its basement to prove that they can “still operate” even though pressure is continuously mounting on them from Washington and Egypt as the Pope is scheduled to visit this month.