President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi announced that another three-month extension of the ongoing nationwide state of emergency will go into effect from April 14 and will last through mid-July. The state of emergency gives authorities additional powers such as the suspension of certain civil rights and freedoms guaranteed by the constitution, in the interest of maintaining civil order as part of broader counterterrorism efforts. This will be the fourth extension of the state of emergency since it was declared in April 2017.
Additionally, Prime MInister Sherif Ismail also announced an extension of a nightly curfew in North Sinai - a region where the Islamic State (IS) is notably active - in areas around the border town of Rafah near the Gaza Strip, and the regional capital Al-Arish. The curfew will remain in place alongside the state of emergency.
The ongoing state of emergency was declared in Egypt following IS attacks on churches in Alexandria and Tanta, which killed 44 people on Palm Sunday, April 9, 2017.
Security forces are currently conducting a significant counterterrorism operation in Egypt. The "Sinai 2018" operation aims to eradicate suspected militant and criminal cells in the Sinai Peninsula, the Nile Delta, and the Western Desert, as well as reinforce state control along the country's borders. The Egyptian police and the army have been placed on maximum alert in these regions for the duration of the operation. The Sinai Peninsula has been the epicenter of frequent attacks by Islamic State (IS)-affiliated militants since 2013 - usually targeting security forces or minority Coptic Christians.
Due to the prevailing threat of terrorism, individuals throughout Egypt should report any suspicious objects or behavior to the authorities and always be on guard when visiting sites deemed particularly vulnerable to an attack (public transportation, train stations, ports, airports, public or government buildings, embassies or consulates, international organizations, schools and universities, religious sites, markets, hotels and restaurants frequented by foreigners/Westerners, festivals, etc.). Many governments advise against travel to northern Sinai, where authorities maintain a media blackout and special security zones amid the ongoing anti-terrorist campaign.
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