June 22, 2017 / 2:30 PM / 5 months ago

Egypt to extend state of emergency for three months

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt will extend a national state of emergency for three months after the government approved President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s proposal to do so, the cabinet said on Thursday, amid an ongoing militant campaign against a Christian minority.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi gives an address after the gunmen attack in Minya, accompanied by leaders of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and the Supreme Council for Police (unseen), at the Ittihadiya presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, May 26, 2017 in this handout picture courtesy of the Egyptian Presidency. The Egyptian Presidency/Handout via REUTERS

Parliament unanimously approved a three-month state of emergency in April, broadening the power of authorities to crack down on what they call enemies of the state after two church bombings killed at least 45.

The state of emergency, which would have expired at the end of June, has been extended by three months, cabinet statement showed, meaning it will now last at least until the end of September.

Egypt faces an Islamic State insurgency in the restive Sinai Peninsula, where hundreds of soldiers and police have been killed since 2013. The group has increasingly carried out attacks in the mainland against Coptic Christian civilians in recent months, killing around 100 Copts since December.

Police killed seven people in connection with the violence against Christians on Thursday. Security forces found militants hiding in a desert training camp, the Interior Ministry said.

They attempted to arrest the men, who opened fire. Police returned fire and have so far found seven bodies as well as weapons, a motorcycle, and military uniforms, the ministry said in a statement.

Writing by Amina Ismail; Additional reporting by Haitham Ahmed and Omar Fahmy; Editing by Ahmed Aboulenein, Larry King

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