Egypt declares 3-month state of emergency after twin Church bombings

An Egyptian army member looks on at a scene after an attack by a suicide bomber in front of a church in Alexandria, Egypt, on Sunday. (REUTERS/Fawzy Abdel Hamied)
Updated 09 April 2017

Egypt declares 3-month state of emergency after twin Church bombings

CAIRO: President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi declared a three-month state of emergency in Egypt following twin church bombings that killed dozens of people in two cities on Sunday.
El-Sisi announced the “state of emergency for three months” in a defiant speech at the presidential palace after a meeting of the national defense council.
El-Sisi accused countries he didn’t name of fueling instability in Egypt, saying that “Egyptians have foiled plots and efforts by countries and fascist, terrorist organizations that tried to control Egypt.”
The Daesh group had claimed responsibility for the church bombings in the Nile Delta cities of Alexandria and Tanta in which at least 44 people were killed.
"A series of steps will be taken, most importantly, the announcement of a state of emergency for three months after legal and constitution steps are taken," El-Sisi said in a speech aired on state television.

CCTV video: Stopped from entering church, terrorist explodes bomb

The emergency law expands police powers of arrest, surveillance and seizures and can limit freedom of movement.
According to the Egyptian constitution, the parliament majority must vote in favor of the state of emergency.
Egypt declared a state of emergency in the months that followed the military ouster of the Islamist President Muhammad Mursi when his supporters staged mass demonstrations that descended into violence.
Rescinding it had been a main demand of Egyptian rights activists during the 2011 revolt that overthrew veteran strongman Hosni Mubarak.
Following Mursi's overthrow by Sisi, then an army chief, in 2013, a state of emergency was declared for a month after deadly clashes between police and Islamist protesters killed hundreds and Islamist mobs attacked Christian properties.
Part of North Sinai where the Islamic State group's Egyptian affiliate is based has remained under a state of emergency.

Israeli tourists told to leave Sinai
The attacks have also prompted Israeli security officials to tell Israeli tourists in the neighboring Sinai peninsula in Egypt to return home immediately.
Israel's anti-terrorism office issued the recommendation on Sunday, citing what it said was a heightened alert level and twin church attacks.
The order recommends that all Israeli tourists in the Sinai return home immediately. It calls on families of travelers who stay in the Sinai to alert their loved ones of the risks. It also calls on Israelis planning trips to the Sinai to cancel.
The Sinai has traditionally been a popular destination for Israelis — especially during the upcoming Passover holiday. But Israel has urged its citizens to avoid the area in recent years because of Islamic militant activity.
Joined the international condemnation of the church bombings in Egypt, US President Donald Trump said he is "so sad to hear of the terrorist attack" against the US ally.

Trump said in a tweet Sunday that he has "great confidence" that El-Sissi, "will handle the situation properly."
The Palm Sunday attacks on Coptic Orthodox churches in the Nile Delta city of Tanta and in Alexandria took place less than a week after Trump welcomed the Egyptian leader to the White House.
The two had reaffirmed their commitment to working together to fight radical groups such as the Islamic State group.
The attacks killed more than 40 people and injured dozens.


UK summons Iran envoy as Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe faces return to jail

Updated 30 October 2020

UK summons Iran envoy as Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe faces return to jail

  • Husband Richard Ratcliffe: Iran has ordered Nazanin to report to court for a new trial on Monday and then back to jail
  • Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab: Britain has made it clear to Iran “that is entirely unjustified and totally unacceptable and must not happen”

LONDON: Britain on Friday warned Iran against throwing detained woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe back in jail, after hauling in Tehran’s envoy for a dressing-down over her emotive case.
The Foreign Office summoned Ambassador Hamid Baeidinejad on Thursday to hear renewed demands from a senior official for an end to the British-Iranian captive’s “arbitrary detention.”
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told BBC radio Zaghari-Ratcliffe was in a “horrific position,” after her husband said Iran has ordered her to report to court for a new trial on Monday and then back to jail.
Britain has made it clear to Iran “that is entirely unjustified and totally unacceptable and must not happen,” Raab said.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who will turn 42 on Boxing Day, has been on temporary release from Tehran’s Evin prison and under house arrest since earlier this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
She has spent more than four years in jail, or under house arrest, since being detained in the Iranian capital in April 2016 while visiting relatives with her young daughter.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who worked for the Thomson Reuters Foundation — the media organization’s philanthropic arm — denied charges of sedition but was convicted and jailed for five years.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has spent more than four years in jail, or under house arrest, since being detained in the Iranian capital in April 2016. (AFP)

Her husband Richard Ratcliffe said this week that the Foreign Office’s handling of the case “seems disastrous,” and that “the UK is dancing to Iran’s tune.”
Raab told the BBC: “We’ve made it very clear we want to try to put the relationship between the UK and Iran on a better footing.
“If Nazanin is returned to prison, that will of course put our discussions and the basis of those discussions in a totally different place. It is entirely unacceptable.”
Richard Ratcliffe linked the latest development to the postponement of a hearing that was due to take place on Tuesday in London to address Iran’s longstanding demand for the repayment by Britain of hundreds of millions from an old military equipment order.
“As Nazanin’s husband, I do think that if she’s not home for Christmas, there’s every chance this could run for years,” he said, accusing Iran of “hostage diplomacy.”