Egyptian army beef up security ahead of New Year celebrations

The Eyptian army said on Tuesday that military units were deployed to secure New Year’s celebrations nationwide.

Security patrols, combat groups, and elements of the military police and rapid intervention forces had been deployed to assist civilian police in securing public institutions, places of worship and other vital sites, according to an army statement.

The army and police forces set up joint checkpoints and mobile patrols to secure streets and main squares.

Copts, who account for 90 percent of Christians in Egypt, celebrate their Christmas on Jan. 7, 2020, while a minority of non-orthodox Christian Egyptians mark the holiday on Dec. 25 as the Westerners.

Egypt has been fighting against a wave of terrorist activities that have killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers since the military toppled late Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 in response to mass protests against his one-year rule and his currently blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood group.

Terror attacks in Egypt had mainly targeted police and military personnel in North Sinai before spreading nationwide and targeting the Coptic Christian minority as well, leaving dozens of them dead.

Most of the attacks were claimed by a Sinai-based group loyal to the Islamic State extremist group.

Egypt’s Coptic Christians, the largest religious minority in the region, make up about 10 percent of the country’s 100 million population.