Egypt closes Rafah crossing with Gaza -UPDATED

Egypt declared a three-month state of emergency in parts of the northern Sinai Peninsula following a deadly attack at a military checkpoint that killed 33 soldiers

Egypt closes Rafah crossing with Gaza -UPDATED

World Bulletin/News Desk

Egyptian authorities on Saturday closed the Rafah crossing with the Gaza Strip indefinitely, one day following a deadly bombing in the Sinai Peninsula.

"Egyptian authorities informed the Palestinian side that the crossing will be shut for an indefinite period," Maher Abu Sabha, head of Gaza's border authority, told Anadolu Agency.

Egypt has declared a three-month state of emergency in parts of the northern Sinai Peninsula, during which a nighttime curfew will also be imposed, following a deadly attack on Friday that left 33 soldiers dead.

The curfew will come into effect starting Saturday from 5pm (1500 GMT) to 7am (0500 GMT) for a three-month period or until further notice, President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi decreed following a meeting of Egypt's National Defense Council.

The Egyptian leader also instructed the army and police to "do whatever is necessary to counter the dangers of terrorism and its funding and to safeguard security in the region."

Violators, the presidential decree asserted, would be jailed.

A subsequent presidential statement said that Egypt's Supreme Military Council would convene on Saturday for an emergency meeting – under al-Sisi's leadership – to take "urgent measures in the field" in line with the presidential decree.

Al-Sisi also ordered three days of national mourning, starting Saturday, for the victims of Friday's attack.

Military panel

Egypt on Saturday formed a panel of top army brass to look into a recent spate of "terrorist" attacks in the Sinai Peninsula, one day following a deadly attack.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces said in a statement that it has assigned a panel of top army commanders with studying circumstances of recent incidents in Sinai.

According to the statement, the council also approved a plan to fight terrorism in Sinai.

For the past 16 months, the Egyptian army has waged a major offensive against militant groups said to be based in the Sinai Peninsula, which shares borders with both Israel and the blockaded Gaza Strip.

Since last year's ouster of Mohamed Morsi – Egypt's first freely elected president – by the army, the restive peninsula has seen a spate of attacks by unidentified militants on security personnel.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 25 Ekim 2014, 14:14