Hours after the two blasts against Coptic churches, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi made a defiant speech calling for national unity. He also announced a three month state of emergency which allows the authorities to make arrests without warrants. It needs to be approved by parliament before it is implemented.
“Today, a decision was taken to form a higher committee for combating terrorism and extremism in Egypt. It will be formed by a law, allowing this committee to take control of the whole situation,” said President Sisi.
The president had earlier ordered the deployment of the military across the country to protect “vital and important infrastructure”.
The move is likely to raise concerns among human rights activists, observers say. The president, a former army chief, has been criticised by local and international groups for severe restrictions on civil and political rights in Egypt.