A soldier stands guard near the St. Mary Church, torched during sectarian clashes (Reuters)
CAIRO – 30 December 2017: Security forces closed all roads leading to churches in the Suez Governorate, as part of heightened security measures, ahead of Christmas festivities.
Additional Special Operations Forces are stationed around Northern Sinai’s churches, according to unnamed security sources cited in Al-Watan Newspaper.
In the wake of the foiled terrorist attack that hit a checkpoint outside the Church of Great Martyr Mina in Helwan, Interior Minister, Magdy Abdel Ghaffar, raised the security alert to maximum across the country.
Concerning the security measures of churches, Ghaffar ordered security officers to be unrelenting in dealing with any potential attempts to break the law. He also ordered extra metal detectors to be installed at all entry points of the church, as well as the creation of a 180-meter exclusion zone around churches.
On Friday morning, two gun-wielding attackers opened fire at the Church of Great Martyr Mina. One of the militants was fatally shot by the police guarding the church, while the second managed to escape.
According to the Ministry of Health, ten citizens were killed and nine others were injured and transferred to a nearby hospital for treatment.