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CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt is to extend its nationwide state of emergency for three months from Jan. 13 to help tackle "the dangers and funding of terrorism", state news agency MENA said on Tuesday.

Egypt first imposed the current state of emergency last April after two church bombings killed at least 45 people. It was extended in July and again in October.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who is widely expected to run for a second term in an election due early this year, issued a decree on Tuesday to extend the state of emergency.

The latest extension was to allow security forces to "take (measures) necessary to confront the dangers and funding of terrorism and safeguard security in all parts of the country," MENA reported, citing Egypt's official gazette.

Egypt faces an Islamic State insurgency in the remote North Sinai region that has killed hundreds of soldiers and policemen in recent years and has expanded to include attacks on civilians.

Other Islamists operating in the western desert bordering Libya have also attacked security forces.

Attacks south of Cairo in the past week, one of them claimed by Islamic State, have targeted Christians.

The election date is to be announced next Monday, local media reported.

(Reporting by Ahmed Tolba and John Davison; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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Reuters