Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has imposed a three-month state of emergency, after bombings at two Coptic Christian churches killed at least 49 people during Palm Sunday services.
President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi: “Several steps are to be taken, the first of which will be the declaration of a state of emergency, after the necessary legal and constitutional procedures are complete, for three months in Egypt. We are announcing this state of emergency only to protect our country and secure it, and to prevent any interference with it.”
ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks on the St. George’s Coptic church in the northern city of Tanta and the St. Mark’s Cathedral in Alexandria. The state of emergency gives el-Sisi’s government even further power to continue its crackdown against human rights activists and journalists. It allows the government and its security forces to surveil all communications, confiscate property, arrest anyone suspected of violating the state of emergency laws and shut down media outlets. On Sunday, Christians mourned the victims of the bombings. This is a priest in Tanta, Tawfik Kobeish.
Tawfik Kobeish: “Believe me, it’s a miserable and painful feeling to go through this cruel experience. We were not expecting people who live with us in the same country, people whom we’ve shared love and friendships with, and whom we’re familiar with, to do these things.”