Egyptian parliament extends Sinai curfew after 'extraordinary' military meeting

Egyptian parliament extends Sinai curfew after 'extraordinary' military meeting
Egypt's minister of defence gave a speech about "national security" to MPs a day before they voted to extend the state of emergency in the Sinai Peninsula.
2 min read
25 May, 2016
Parliament approved the extension of the state of emergency on Tuesday [Getty]

A delegation of Egyptian members of parliament met with Minister of Defence Sedki Sobhi for an extraordinary dinner gathering in Cairo ahead of a vote to extend the state of emergency in North Sinai province, an MP in attendance has said.

The group of around 100 MPs, which included the defence and national security committee, met with Sobhi - along with Director of Military Intelligence Mohammad al-Shahat at the army-run al-Masah Hotel late on Monday, a day before lawmakers voted to extend the state of emergency.

Sobhi addressed the MPs on the topic  of "domestic threats to national security and pressures from abroad", following calls from parliament to reduce the hours of the curfew and provide locals with basic living necessities.

"Sobhi said that unnamed foreign intelligence services have plotted against Egypt since June 30, for which the army and police in Sinai are paying the price," the MP told The New Arab on the condition of anonymity.

"He stressed the importance of parliament standing by the army in its war on terrorism... and not blocking measures that will preserve internal affairs such as extending the state of emergency in parts of North Sinai."


The defence minister reportedly said the state of emergency would "further tighten the noose on terrorist groups" and promised to take into consideration calls from parliament to ease its effects on Sinai residents during the upcoming holy month of Ramadan.

"The MPs at the meeting declared their support for the army… and said they would enact legislation to provide it with weapons," the MP added.

On Tuesday, parliament approved the extension of the state of emergency for an additional three months - a week earlier, the vote had been postponed for the seventh time after failing to reach a two-thirds majority.

The state of emergency puts in place a nightly curfew from 7pm to 6am in the city of al-Arish.

It was first imposed in August 2013, after an insurgency by Islamic State group-affiliated militants increased in the wake of the military coup against Egypt's democratically elected Islamist President Mohammad ‎Morsi.

The militants pledged allegiance to IS in November 2014, and its attacks have since grown more sophisticated.

The military says it has killed more than 1,000 militants, occasionally publishing pictures of their bodies.

Sinai residents have long complained of shortages of goods, arbitrary arrests by security forces, home demolitions and civilian deaths in air raids against militants.