[JURIST] Egypt on Saturday declared a three-month state of emergency in the north and center of the Sinai Peninsula following a suicide bombing that killed at least 31 soldiers. The measures will begin [Al Jazeera report] at 3:00 GMT on Saturday, according to a statement by Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi. There will be an enforced curfew [AFP report] in those areas covered by the order from 5:00 pm to 7:00 am, and the Rafah crossing into the Gaza strip will be closed. The Rafah crossing is the only entry to the Palestinian territory not controlled by Israel. The president also called for three days of mourning for those who were killed in the attack by suspected jihadists.
The bombing marks the deadliest attack on security forces since former President Mohamed Morsi [BBC backgrounder] was deposed last year. Morsi was elected President of Egypt in 2012 following the Egyptian Revolution [JURIST backgrounder]. After only a year in power, Morsi was deposed by the military in July 2013 and criminal charges were first raised [JURIST reports] against him in September of the same year. In August the Supreme Administrative Court in Egypt banned [JURIST report] the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi’s political party, from the country. An Egyptian appeals court acquitted [JURIST report] Morsi’s former prime minister, Hisham Qandil, in July. Morsi’s trial in Cairo was adjourned [JURIST report] in February after a brief appearance in court. Following the initial charges of “incitement to murder,” Morsi was also charged [JURIST report] with espionage and terrorism in December 2013.