Cairo, Apr 11 (PTI) The Egyptian parliament today voted unanimously in favour of a three-month state of emergency declared by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi following the Palm Sunday terror attacks that left 46 people dead.
The decision comes two days after twin bombings that hit Egypt’s St George Cathedral in Tanta and St Mark’s Cathedral in Alexandria on Palm Sunday, killing 46 and injuring more than 120 others during prayer services.
The state of emergency is now in effect following parliament’s approval.
According to the Egyptian constitution, any state of emergency must be confirmed in parliament by majority vote within seven days of its declaration by the president.
Egypt’s Cabinet earlier approved the measure – which allows authorities to make arrests without warrants and search people’s homes – and explained the reasons for the imposition of emergency.
President al-Sisi in a brief television appearance on Sunday had announced the state of emergency for three months.
Sisi had said a top-level council for fighting terrorism and extremism will also be set up. Before making the announcement, he had called a National Defence Council meet.
The first blast took place in the Coptic church of Mar Girgis, also known as St George, in the Nile delta city of Tanta, about 120 kilometres from Cairo, and killed 27 people and injured 78, according to the Egyptian Health Ministry.
Hours later, a suicide bomber struck the Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria’s Manshyia district, killing at least 18 people and wounding 41 others.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Coptic Christians make up about 10 per cent of Egypt’s population of 85 million.
Egypt’s Christian minority has often been targeted by Islamist militants. In December, a suicide bombing claimed by an IS affiliate killed 29 people during Sunday mass in Cairo.
Egypt has seen a wave of attacks by militants since 2013 when the military toppled president Mohammed Morsi, an elected leader who hailed from the Muslim Brotherhood, and launched a crackdown against Islamists.
Palm Sunday falls on the Sunday before the Easter. The feast commemorates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in each of the four canonical Gospels.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.