Cairo – Egypt’s parliament on Tuesday unanimously approved a three-month state of emergency, days after two church bombings in Alexandria and Tanta killed at least 45.
Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal said it was a necessary measure at a time that requires exceptional laws.
He warned the press to be careful in its reporting, echoing comments by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi after the bombings.
“It is up to all of us to protect this nation. This is a national and constitutional duty,” Abdel Aal said.
Addressing parliament on Tuesday, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said the state of emergency was essential to combat what he called terrorist groups bent on undermining the country.
“The emergency law is aimed at enemies of the homeland and citizens, and it will grant state apparatuses greater ability, flexibility, and speed to confront an evil enemy that has not hesitated to kill and wreak havoc without justification or discrimination,” he said.
Ismail told parliament that el-Sisi has declared the state of emergency “in accordance with his constitutional authorities and national responsibility,” affirming the country’s determination to exterminate terrorism.
“The latest attacks on Egyptian churches revealed huge funding of terrorist organizations, which may exceed billions, to provide them with modern technology,” Ismail said.
“These terrorist acts require exceptional steps to allow the country to reinforce its capabilities and powers in a legal and constitutional frame to face this exceptional threat,” Ismail added.
In this matter, Speaker Abdel Aal said that “an international conference on terrorism will be held very soon, and Egypt will take the opportunity at this conference to publicly name countries highly suspected of funding terrorist activities.”
“Teams of Egyptian lawyers will be formed to sue countries involved in funding terrorism, and I think you know them by name,” Abdel Aal said.
The parliament will soon discuss a new law on the formation of the Higher Council on Combating Terrorism and Extremism, which “will be responsible for developing a long-term strategy against terrorism and extremism,” stated Abdel Aal.
“I have information that some groups used these websites to exchange information related to terrorist attacks in Egypt,” he added.
Abdel Aal also said that three regulatory press and media councils – which were officially formed on Tuesday – will help observe the performance of the media to ensure that it seeks the country’s supreme interests.
On the other hand, Egyptian security forces killed seven suspected ISIS militants in a shootout on Monday in southern city of Assiut as they were meeting to plan attacks on minority Christians, the Interior Ministry said.
The seven militants were killed after they opened fire on security forces, who approached them as they were meeting to plot further attacks on Christians, the ministry said in a statement.
Ammunition, weapons, a motorcycle and ISIS books and publications were found at the scene, the statement added.