North Sinai state of emergency contained, did not eliminate militancy – prime minister

Tuesday 10-05-2016 09:37 PM

Egyptian security personnel check cars at a checkpoint near the site, where separate attacks on security forces in North Sinai on Thursday killed 30 people, in Arish, North Sinai, Egypt, January 31, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer

CAIRO, May 10 (Aswat Masriya)- Egypt’s prime minister said on Tuesday that the declaration of the state of emergency in some areas in North Sinai did not eliminate militancy but helped in containing and minimising it.

Prime Minister Sherif Ismail made the statements before the Egyptian parliament, the House of Representatives, as he tackled the recent decision by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to extend the state of emergency in North Sinai for three more months.

The Egyptian constitution states that the president may declare a state of emergency after consultation with the cabinet. However, “such declaration must be presented to the House of Representatives within the following seven days to decide thereon as it deems fit,” according to Article 154 of the constitution.

The declaration must be approved by a majority of the House members.

Militant groups in North Sinai “receive internal and external support” with the aim of turning the peninsula into “an area out of control,” Ismail said.

The state of emergency “provides security apparatuses with some measures” to enable them to ensure security of lives as well as of the developmental projects that are being implemented in the area, he added.

Militant insurgency has surged in North Sinai since the military ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in July 2013 after mass protests against his rule. 

Islamic State-affiliated militants are the most active in the area, targeting mainly security personnel.

Sisi had declared the state of emergency and a curfew in the border province, for an initial three months, in October 2014 in reaction to a militant attack that killed 33 security personnel.

Islamic State affiliates claimed responsibility for the attack then.

The state of emergency imposed in a number of areas in Sinai has been renewed several times since.

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