Entrance gate the Great Martyr Mina Church in al-Maasara district of Helwan - file/Hassan Mohamed Entrance gate the Great Martyr Mina Church in al-Maasara district of Helwan - file/Hassan Mohamed

EXCLUSIVE - Cairo’s chief of security: No leniency in dealing with terrorists

Fri, Dec. 29, 2017
CAIRO – 29 December 2017: “Security forces faced the militants that had planned to enter and they stopped them. If it wasn’t for the security forces, the number of victims would have been higher,” Lieutenant Khaled Abdel Aal, Cairo’s Chief of Security stated to Egypt Today exclusively on Friday.

“The terrorist had a bomb, not an explosive belt as many thought, and he planned to throw it inside Martyr Mina’s church in Helwan, but security forces managed to stop him and move him away from the church’s vicinity, which led to him randomly shooting,” Abdel Aal continued.

During the interview, Abdel Aal emphasized that the security forces’ ability to move the terrorist away from the church and facing him indicates a shift in the state’s combat strategy. The lieutenant also stressed that they are going to tighten security all around churches until Christmas celebrations, and he ensured that there will be security personnel in front of all churches.

“The Ministry of Interior will carry out all its responsibilities with the utmost strictness and there will be routine checkups. There will be personnel working around the clock to ensure the safety of churches and explosives experts available 24/7,” Abdel Aal stated.

On the militants that were involved in the attack on the church in Helwan on Friday, Abdel Aal stated that Cairo’s security personnel are in a state of alert and that the ministry issued instructions emphasizing the need to reach the individuals who helped the terrorist carry out his attack. “Security men will reach them within hours. There are no compromises and no leniency when it comes to dealing with terrorists and their supporters,” Cairo’s chief of security told Egypt Today.

“Camera footage will be unloaded momentarily and a team of the highest trained security men will investigate and interrogate eye witnesses. We are currently gathering all the information available on the terrorist element and his recent activities. Preliminary information indicated that he was involved in many terrorist operations that targeted policemen, indicating that there are preemptive strikes that the security institution is carrying out against these terrorist cells and that is to refrain them from messing with or influencing Egyptian security,” Abdel Aal explained.

Adel Aal also elaborated that every church has its own security team of general security personnel, investigation bureau personnel, and the central security apparatus, in addition to elements of secret ops. “These teams are responsible for protecting churches around the clock and surveillance cameras are always being reviewed.”

Earlier Friday, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi offered condolences to the Egyptian families of the martyrs that were killed in a militant attack attempting to storm a church in Helwan city, southern Cairo on Friday. Sisi also wished a speedy recovery to all the injured.

Sisi is following closely the repercussions of the terrorist attack which left 10 civilians, including six Copts dead and injured at least five others. A policeman was also killed and another was injured while defeating the attacker.

Sisi ordered the state’s institutions to take all necessary actions regarding the families of the martyrs and the injured. He called to intensify the guarding and securing of the vital installations of the state.

Additional reporting by Mirit Agaiby.
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