Tightened security around churches at Easter’s eve

A high-level security source at the Interior Ministry said on Saturday that preparations have been stepped up within all sectors of the ministry to secure the celebrations of Coptic Christians on Easter, pointing to imposing an exclusion zone of 400 meters around every church.

State-run MENA news agency reported the sources as saying that Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar held several meetings with his aides to re-evaluate the security plans and discuss intensifying security measures around all churches and vital institutions in the country to thwart any "suspicious attempts to undermine the internal front or destabilize the security of the homeland".

He pointed out that all the directorates of security, sectors and departments of the Ministry received strict instructions from the Minister to tighten the security on all vital institutions, especially churches, which number 2,626 churches in Egypt.

The security source explained that there are directives for bomb squads to comb all the church vicinities periodically until the end of the celebrations, pointing out that instructions were issued to activate surveillance cameras installed on the walls of the churches to monitor the security situation.

The sources added that inspections services and armed personnel are deployed around the churches, in addition to imposing an exclusion zone of 400 meters around every church to prevent car and motorcycles parking inside.

Officials at the leadership levels in each security directorate will inspect the regularity of security services in their locations in sudden visits, to ensure the compliance of the forces to the plan.

The sources added that the implementation of the new security plan began today, as Major-General Khaled Abdel-Aal, Head of Cairo Security Directorate, at dawn today, inspected the security services at the churches of the capital and stressed the need for vigilance and caution, banning street vendors near churches.

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