Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi extended the current nationwide state of emergency for three additional months on Thursday, June 22. 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 wider counter-terrorism efforts.
Meanwhile, Egyptian security forces, including the police and the military, are waging a fierce campaign against Islamic State (IS) and other Sinai-based terrorist groups. The Wilayat Sinai group, suspected of having links to IS, has been specifically targeted.
The 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). The Christian Coptic community has been targeted in a number of violent attacks in recent years, predominantly in the northern Sinai region. Discrimination against Christians, who make up about 10 percent of the population, has long been a delicate subject in predominantly Muslim Egypt. Copts say they suffer social prejudice and workplace discrimination.
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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