Egypt government extends state of emergency ahead of March polls

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi

The Egyptian government has extended a state of emergency for three months, ahead of presidential elections in March.

The government also extended a partial curfew in parts of North Sinai province for the same period, over security challenges.

The state of emergency was first imposed in April 2017 following twin bombings on two churches in the northern provinces of Gharbiya and Alexandria that killed at least 47 and wounded over 120.

The North African country has been dogged by a wave of terrorist attacks that killed hundreds of security officers since the military ouster of former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

Terror attacks had been centered in restive North Sinai before spreading to several provinces including the capital Cairo and starting to target the Coptic minority via church bombings.

Last month, a deadly bombing on a mosque in North Sinai’s Arish city killed at least 310 Muslim worshippers and injured over 120 others, marking the deadliest terror attack and the first against a Muslim mosque in Egypt’s modern history.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far.