Egypt has declared a state of emergency across much of the Sinai Peninsula after a suicide car bombing that killed some 30 troops. A curfew was also introduced, while the border with the Gaza Strip was closed
Egypt's National Defense Council declared a three-month state of emergency to begin on Saturday in areas near the borders with Israel and the Gaza Strip.
The council, headed by President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, also ordered a three-hour curfew for the northern Sinai Peninsula, which has been plagued by Islamist violence since the army deposed elected President Mohammed Morsi last year.
A decision was also taken to close the Rafah border crossing into the Gaza Strip, the only point of entry into the territory that is not controlled by Israel.
"The army and the police will take all necessary measures to tackle the dangers of terrorism and its financing, to preserve the security of the region... and protect the lives of citizens," said a presidential decree.
'Shedding of dear blood'
The announcements came after a car bomb attack some 15 kilometers (9 miles) northwest of the town of el-Arish. While there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, officials said it bore the hallmarks of the Islamist militant group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, or "Champions of Jerusalem."
In its statement, the council vowed that the army would take "revenge for the shedding of dear blood," while el-Sissi announced a three-day period of mourning. In addition to the 30 dead, some 28 were wounded with several in a critical condition.
Presenters appeared on state television wearing black, with a black ribbon displayed at the top of the screen. Meanwhile, Egypt's Grand Mufti Shawki Allam, condemned the attacks and said the perpetrators "deserve God's wrath on Earth and at the end of days."
The United Nations issued a statement condemning the attack, repeating its determination to combat terrorism. "The members of the Security Council underlined the need to bring perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of this terrorist attack to justice," the statement said.
Egyptian officials have claimed that violence is being organized by the deposed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, which has been the subject of a rigorous crackdown since the military took back power from the country's first democratically elected president in July last year.
rc/jm (AFP, AP, Reuters)