WRAP-UP: Egypt witnesses sad Friday after Mar Mina church attack



Fri, 29 Dec 2017 - 10:45 GMT


Fri, 29 Dec 2017 - 10:45 GMT

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi affirmed that he is closely following on repercussions of the terrorist attack – Photo compiled by Egypt Today/Mohamed Zain

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi affirmed that he is closely following on repercussions of the terrorist attack – Photo compiled by Egypt Today/Mohamed Zain

CAIRO – 30 December 2017: Days ahead of the New Year’s Eve, Egypt witnessed a deadly attack on the Coptic church of the Great Martyr Mina in Helwan, in a Cairo suburb, during Christmas ceremonies on Friday.

Church attack 3Egypt Today/Hassan Mohamed
The attack claimed the lives of seven people, including one police conscript, and left four citizens wounded.

Church attack 1
Egypt Today/Hassan Mohamed

A gunman clashed with police outside the church after he tried to break through security barriers protecting the site; he was identified as

IS claims responsibility:

Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack without providing evidence for the claim, while Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar issued directives to security officials to raise the security alert to the maximum level across the country, in the wake of the foiled terrorist attack.

The minister further underscored the need for a heightened security presence in the streets, squares and venues where celebrations are being held, as well as vital installations. Regular security patrols are also ordered to be increased, and more traffic controllers are to be stationed on highways and main roads.

Ten equipped ambulances headed to the place of the accident and transferred the injured for further treatment.

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Egypt Today/Mahmoud Fakhry

On Friday night, bodies of the six victims from the bloody attack arrived at the district’s archbishopric for the official funeral, covered with Egyptian flags and were received by their families, while a number of official figures were present.

Church attack 8 MEgypt Today/Mahmoud Fakhry
Church attack 9 MEgypt Today/Mahmoud Fakhry
Church attack 10 MEgypt Today/Mahmoud Fakhry
Church attack 11 MEgypt Today/Mahmoud Fakhry

The attack took place when two armed men attacked the church in Helwan early Friday, targeting dozens of Christian worshippers who were attending a religious service, according to a statement by the Ministry of Interior.

According to the statement, attackers opened fire at a household appliances shop, then headed to the church, where they attempted to trespass the church's perimeter security.

The security forces were able to capture one of the attackers after shooting him, managed to defuse an explosive belt that was fasten around the militant's chest, while the other one fled the scene, the ministry said.

A militant was killed before storming a church in Helwan, southern Cairo- a screenshot from a video

Who did it?

In an official statement, the interior ministry identified the attacker, saying his name is Ibrahim Isma'il Isma'il Moustafa, 34, and he is one of the most prominent terrorist elements, fugitive and dangerous, who claimed the elements of the attack on the vehicle (microbus) Helwan police station in 2016 and resulted in the death of one of the officers.

Two of the injured were in critical condition, Health Ministry’s spokesman Khaled Mejahed said, pointing out that the necessary medicine and medical supplies are available in the hospital.

”Desperate terrorist attempts,” Sisi:

In his message to the nations in the wake of the attack, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi offered condolences to the Egyptian families of the martyrs that were killed, affirming that he is following closely the repercussions of the terrorist attack, while he ordered the state’s institutions to take all necessary actions regarding the families of the martyrs and the injured, and to intensify the guarding and securing of the vital installations of the state.

The Egyptian president affirmed that these desperate terrorist attempts will not undermine the determination of Egyptians and their national unity, but it will increase their determination to continue the process of cleansing the country of terrorism and extremism.

The attack left Helwan residents astonished, whilst they rushed to donate blood at Al-Nasr Hospital for those who were injured in Mar Mina church.

Strong condemnation:

Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed al-Tayyeb strongly condemned the treacherous terrorist attack, saying that such terrorist attacks that target the Copts during their holidays are only aimed at disrupting the harmony of the nation with its Muslims and Copts and to threaten its unity. He also extended his sincere condolences to the families of the victims, and called upon God to grant them patience and solace.

“I call on all Egyptians to confront this malignant plot against our nation and to emphasize on such spirit through the participation of Muslims in celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ with their Christian brothers,” he further added.

Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark also expressed his condolences to the families of the victims and condemned the attack as treacherous and cowardly, wishing speedy recovery for the wounded.

Word leaders have been condemning the heinous attack and deemed it to contradict all heavenly religions and human values.

British Ambassador to Egypt John Casson denounced the attack; “The murderers who did this know nothing of real humanity or faith," Casson wrote on his official twitter account.

Further more, the German Embassy in Cairo condemned the attack as Ambassador Julius Georg Luy said nothing can justify attacks on peaceful worshipers from any religion, he expressed Germany's full support for Egyptian in its war against terrorism.

Also, the Italian Embassy in Egypt strongly condemned Friday's heinous attack in Helwan.

Furthermore, President Sisi received a phone call from U.S. President Donald Trump, who offered condolences over the victims of a terrorist attack in Cairo.

Trump asserted Washington's full support for Cairo in its fight against terrorism, said presidential spokesman Bassam Rady.

Sisi thanked the U.S. leader for offering condolences to him. He stressed the necessity to collaborate in international efforts to combat terrorism, added the spokesman.

Egypt has witnessed several terrorist attacks in recent years, including the bombing of two churches north of the country on Palm Sunday; On April 9, two explosions targeted churches in Tanta, north of Cairo, and Alexandria during Palm Sunday services, leaving at least 44 dead and over 70 injured.



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