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.


Iran backtracks on plan to send flight recorders to Ukraine

Updated 4 min 49 sec ago

Iran backtracks on plan to send flight recorders to Ukraine

  • An Iranian official said “the flight recorders from the Ukrainian Boeing are in Iranian hands and we have no plans to send them out”
  • He said Iran is working to recover the data and cabin recordings, and that it may send the flight recorders to Ukrain or France

TEHRAN: The Iranian official leading the investigation into the Ukrainian jetliner that was accidentally shot down by the Revolutionary Guard appeared to backtrack Sunday on plans to send the flight recorders abroad for analysis, a day after saying they would be sent to Kyiv.
Hassan Rezaeifar was quoted by the state-run IRNA news agency as saying “the flight recorders from the Ukrainian Boeing are in Iranian hands and we have no plans to send them out.”
He said Iran is working to recover the data and cabin recordings, and that it may send the flight recorders — commonly known as black boxes — to Ukraine or France. “But as of yet, we have made no decision.”
The same official was quoted by the semi-official Tasnim news agency on Saturday as saying the recorders would be sent to Ukraine, where French, American and Canadian experts would help analyze them. Iranian officials previously said the black boxes were damaged but are usable.
It was not immediately possible to reconcile the conflicting accounts. Iran may be hesitant to turn over the recorders for fear that more details from the crash — including the harrowing 20 seconds between when the first and second surface-to-air missiles hit the plane — will come to light.
The Guard’s air defenses shot the plane down shortly after it took off from Tehran on Jan. 8, killing all 176 people on board. Hours earlier, the Guard had launched ballistic missiles at US troops in Iraq in response to the US airstrike that killed Iran’s top general in Baghdad. Officials say lower-level officers mistook the plane for a US cruise missile.
Iranian officials initially said the crash was caused by a technical problem and invited countries that lost citizens to help investigate. Three days later, Iran admitted responsibility after Western leaders said there was strong evidence the plane was hit by a surface-to-air missile.
The victims included 57 Canadian citizens as well as 11 Ukrainians, 17 people from Sweden, four Afghans and four British citizens. Most of those killed were Iranians. The other five nations have demanded Iran accept full responsibility and pay compensation to the victims’ families.
The plane was a Boeing 737-800 that was designed and built in the US The plane’s engine was designed by CFM International, a joint company between French group Safran and US group GE Aviation. Investigators from both countries have been invited to take part in the probe.