World

Egypt to unveil major Suez Canal extension billed as historic feat by government

  • A supporter of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi carries his poster on his bike as he celebrates with others for Thursday's opening of the new extension of the Suez Canal, riding on the Qasr El Nile Bridge in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015. Egypt will unveil a major extension of the Suez Canal on Thursday, a mega-project that has emerged as a cornerstone of el-Sissi's efforts to restore national pride and revive the economy after years of unrest. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

    A supporter of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi carries his poster on his bike as he celebrates with others for Thursday's opening of the new extension of the Suez Canal, riding on the Qasr El Nile Bridge in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015. Egypt will unveil a major extension of the Suez Canal on Thursday, a mega-project that has emerged as a cornerstone of el-Sissi's efforts to restore national pride and revive the economy after years of unrest. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)  (The Associated Press)

  • A policeman stands alert under a billboard with the photo of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi at the Cairo-Ismailia desert road in Egypt, Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015. Egypt is to unveil a major extension of the Suez Canal that el-Sissi has billed as a historic achievement that will boost the economy following years of unrest. Arabic reads, "long live Egypt, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, opening of the new Suez canal." (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

    A policeman stands alert under a billboard with the photo of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi at the Cairo-Ismailia desert road in Egypt, Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015. Egypt is to unveil a major extension of the Suez Canal that el-Sissi has billed as a historic achievement that will boost the economy following years of unrest. Arabic reads, "long live Egypt, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, opening of the new Suez canal." (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)  (The Associated Press)

  • Egyptian army soldiers patrol the Cairo-Ismailia desert road in Egypt, Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015. Egypt is to unveil a major extension of the Suez Canal that el-Sissi has billed as a historic achievement that will boost the economy following years of unrest. Arabic on the army vehicle reads, "forces securing the inauguration ceremony of the new Suez canal." (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

    Egyptian army soldiers patrol the Cairo-Ismailia desert road in Egypt, Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015. Egypt is to unveil a major extension of the Suez Canal that el-Sissi has billed as a historic achievement that will boost the economy following years of unrest. Arabic on the army vehicle reads, "forces securing the inauguration ceremony of the new Suez canal." (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)  (The Associated Press)

Egypt is to unveil a major extension of the Suez Canal that President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has billed as an historic achievement that will boost the economy following years of unrest.

An elaborate ceremony due later on Thursday in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia will be hosted by the president and attended by foreign dignitaries.

The unveiling of the $8.5 billion extension has been trumpeted as a historic achievement by pro-government media and has revived the nationalistic personality cult built around the 60-year-old el-Sissi.

But the ceremony will be overshadowed by an Islamic State affiliate's threat to kill a Croatian hostage kidnapped on the outskirts of Cairo last month, a grim reminder of the threat posed by Islamic militants to Egypt's stability.