Egypt declares state of emergency after 52 security forces killed during shootout

by WorldTribune Staff, October 22, 2017

Egypt’s parliament on Oct. 22 declared a three-month nationwide state of emergency in the wake of an Oct. 20 terror attack that killed 52 Egyptian security personnel.

People carry the coffin of police captain Ahmed Fayez, who was killed in the Oct. 20 battle. / AP

The state of emergency gives authorities greater power to crack down on what are described as “enemies of the state.”

Acting on an intelligence tip, security forces on Oct. 20 were conducting a raid on a suspected terrorist hideout only to find the jihadists lying in wait. The police convoy came under attack by rocket-propelled grenades and explosive devices, according to a report by the Egypt Independent.

Egypt suspects the terrorists of belonging to Hasm, which has claimed several attacks around Cairo targeting judges and policemen since last year. Hasm is believed by Egypt to be a wing of the Muslim Brotherhood which was outlawed in 2013. The Muslim Brotherhood denies the allegation.

A number of suspected terrorists were also killed in the Oct. 20 battle, the Egyptian Interior Ministry said.

The firefight occurred in the Bahariya oasis on the Western Desert, about 85 miles (135 kilometers) southwest of Cairo, after security forces received information on the location of the jihadists.

After the ambush, the jihadists went through the disabled vehicles, seizing weapons and executing survivors, said an Egyptian official speaking on condition of anonymity.

Egyptian President Abdul Fatah Sisi issued the presidential decree on Oct. 22, one day after a previous three-month state of emergency expired. The state of emergency was first declared by Sisi last April following two deadly bombings on Coptic churches. In July, it was extended by three months.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office issued a statement saying “Israel strongly condemns the severe terrorist attack in the al-Wahat al-Bahriya area in Egypt, sends condolences on behalf of the people of Israel to Egyptian President Abdul Fatah Sisi and the people of Egypt, and sends wishes for a quick recovery to the injured.

“There is no difference between the terrorism that strikes in Egypt and the terrorism that strikes in other countries. Terrorism will be defeated quicker if all countries are united in taking action against it,” the statement added.

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