CAIRO/SINAI, Oct 25 (Aswat Masriya) – Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) is convening on Saturday afternoon with leaders from the Police Authority to coordinate efforts to "combat all forms of terrorism," SCAF announced.
The council met early Saturday to discuss means of implementing a state of emergency declared in parts of the Sinai Peninsula in response to terrorist attacks in the peninsula on Friday which left over 30 security personnel killed.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who headed the SCAF meeting, issued a presidential decree on Friday night declaring a three-month state of emergency in Sinai.
The SCAF "studied executive steps to activate … the state of emergency," a statement issued by the council read.
The council also mandated a committee of top armed forces leaders to study the latest "terrorist incidents" in Sinai and to "draw the learnt lessons" to strengthen the efforts of "combating terrorism in all its forms nationwide."
The declared state of emergency will be implemented in certain regions of the peninsula including; the Rafah hill to al-Awga in the east, west of al-Arish to al-Halal mountain in the west, west of Arish to the Rafah international borders in the North and Halal mountain to Awga in the South. The state of emergency was enforced starting 5 am on Saturday.
Sisi also declared a night curfew in the said regions for the next three months. The curfew stretches from 5 pm until 7 am.
Sisi mandated the cabinet to swiftly take "the necessary measures to secure civilians residing in the regions" outlined in the decree declaring the state of emergency, reported state-run news agency MENA.
The cabinet is holding an emergency meeting on Saturday to discuss the attacks, reported MENA.
Thirty military personnel were killed in a suicide blast which targeted a security checkpoint in Sinai's Sheikh Zuweid on Friday, security sources told Reuters. The explosion also caused damage to two military vehicles.
Shortly afterwards, a separate attack by unidentified gunmen on a security checkpoint in Arish killed three more security personnel.
Egypt closed the Rafah border-crossing on Saturday following the attacks, reported MENA.
Militants have stepped up attacks targeting security forces in Egypt, particularly in the Sinai Peninsula, since the army's ouster of President Mohamed Mursi in July 2013, which followed mass protests against his rule.
A fact-sheet prepared by Egypt's ministry of foreign affairs put the death toll for terrorism acts which took place since January 2011 and until April 2014 at 971, including 664 security personnel.