Egypt Declares 3-Month State of Emergency
Death toll from church bombings is now 44
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 10, 2017 4:08 AM CDT
Updated Apr 10, 2017 5:33 AM CDT
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Relatives and onlookers gather outside a church after a bomb attack in Tanta, Egypt, on Sunday.   (Nariman El-Mofty)
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(Newser) – Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi called for a three-month state of emergency late Sunday night after suicide bombers struck hours apart at two Coptic churches, killing 44 people and turning Palm Sunday services into scenes of horror and outrage at the government. According to Egypt's constitution, Parliament must vote in favor of such a declaration—a virtual certainty since it's packed with supporters of the president, the AP reports. It cannot exceed six months without a referendum to extend it.

The army chief-turned-president also dispatched elite troops across the country to protect key installations and accused unidentified countries of fueling instability, saying that "Egyptians have foiled plots and efforts by countries and fascist, terrorist organizations." The attacks in the northern cities of Tanta and Alexandria highlighted the difficulties facing el-Sissi's government in protecting Christians, who make up about 10% of Egypt's population. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks, which also left 126 people wounded in the bloodiest day for the country's Christians in decades. President Trump tweeted that he is "so sad to hear" of the attacks, but has "great confidence" that el-Sissi "will handle the situation properly."

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