Egypt’s army, police beef up security ahead of Christmas, New Year celebrations

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Members of the church walk with lit candles during a Christmas eve service at the Virgin Mary Cathedral in Nasr City, a suburb of Cairo, Egypt December 24, 2018. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Egypt’s Armed Forces, in coordination with the Ministry of Interior, has intensified measures to secure Christmas and New Year’s celebrations nationwide, the army said in a statement.

Members of the church walk with lit candles during a Christmas eve service at the Virgin Mary Cathedral in Nasr City, a suburb of Cairo, Egypt December 24, 2018. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

“The General Command of the Armed Forces has taken every measure to secure the celebrations of New Year and the Christmas in all governorates of the republic,” a statement by military spokesperson Tamer al-Refai said.

According to the statement, security forces are ready to be deployed to ensure the safety of citizens at places of worship and vital facilities.

The military spokesperson said that all forces have been trained on how to deal with threats that may disturb the celebrations.

“Special Forces units have prepared many combat groups to assist with tactical formations in securing the celebrations; the Rapid Deployment Forces will also function as backup in case of any disruptions to the celebrations,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian Minister of Defence Mohamed Zaki stressed the need to ensure that all participating forces understand the tasks assigned to them to secure the celebrations, to address all threats and act in emergency situations in cooperation with police forces, according to official Ahram Online news website.

“Military police in cooperation with police forces will also deploy moving patrols and set up checkpoints,” al-Refai said.

The Suez Canal will have its own security measures, with all navigational routes to be monitored to prevent smuggling, he added.

The Interior Ministry enhanced the deployment of security forces since Friday in all governorates to secure the Christmas and New Year celebrations.