Prime Minster Ibrahim Mehleb’s cabinet decided Sunday to extend the curfew imposed on North Sinai for another three months, until the end of April.
Cabinet spokesman Hossam El-Kawish noted the curfew was supposed to end on 25 January, but it was decided to extend it to 25 April.
The authorities imposed a limited state of emergency in selected areas of North Sinai as part of heightened counterinsurgency measures. These came in the wake of the 24 October militant attacks, which left at least 30 security personnel dead. The attacks were later claimed by ‘State of Sinai’, the Islamist insurgent group formerly known as Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis.
The time of the curfew was initially set from 5pm to 7am. However, in December the curfew hours were reduced to 11 hours instead of 14, from 7pm to 6am.
Other security measures aimed at combating the militants include the establishment of a 5km buffer zone along the Rafah-Gaza border. There are also moves to destroy all tunnels used for smuggling weapons and infiltrating militants in and out of the restive Sinai Peninsula.