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.
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.