Remembering servicemen, women who died protecting Alexandria’s Coptic Cathedral



Tue, 11 Apr 2017 - 05:30 GMT


Tue, 11 Apr 2017 - 05:30 GMT

Alexandria’s Coptic Cathedral bombing servicemen victims

Alexandria’s Coptic Cathedral bombing servicemen victims

CAIRO – 10 April 2017: Four hours after the explosion of a bomb that targeted the Mar Girgis Church in Tanta, north of Cairo, on Palm Sunday, a suicide bomber turned the prayers of worshippers at Alexandria’s Coptic Orthodox Church into screams and tears.

The death toll of the explosion in


, 125km from Alexandria, counted at least 28 dead and 77 injured.

Distance-Alex-Tanta - Maps of World
Alexandria is 125km from Tanta.

The first victim of the bombing in Alexandria has been identified as a 37-year-old father-cum-policeman Emad el-Rakaiby, who was on duty when the suicide bomber detonated his bomb.

Rakaybi and his son
Emad El- Rakaiby, head of the police department of Alexandria's Atarin District.

Rakaiby was securing the pedestrian entrance of the church, the largest Christian Church in Egypt, Northeast Africa and the Middle East.

CCTV footage of the attack shows the bomber, wearing a brown jacket with a blue sweater draped over his shoulders, being stopped by 54-year-old security guard Naseem Fahim as he tried to skip the security metal detector.

The IS member approaching the main entrance of the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria.

The guard asked the man, now known to be a member of the

Islamic State group

, to walk through a metal detector which is installed beside the church’s entrance.
As the bomber tried to go through the metal detector, it went off and he took a step back as Rakaiby stopped him from proceeding into the churchyard.

The bomber, taking a step back from the security metal detector as it went off the moment he stepped through it.

It is presumed that the bomber, realizing he would not be able to proceed closer to the church, decided to detonate the bomb before his cover is blown, and so he did. Seventeen people were killed immediately, and another 48 injured.

CCTV footage highly saturated as the detonated bomb ripped through the

church front, taking away the lives of at least 17 citizens and injuring 48 others.
“Rakaiby had many talks with his colleagues about martyrdom and the honor of dying as a martyr,” an Interior ministry official told Egypt Today Online. Major Rakaiby is survived by two young children. He was the officer in charge of the campaign to secure the church.

Naseem Fahim asking the terrorist to hold back and go through the security metal detector.

Fahim had served the church for 20 years. His three sons should never forget he was the one who stopped the bomber from entering the church, likely saving hundreds of lives that might otherwise have been lost.

Fahim’s family was barely able to identify him, finally doing so by a callus on his left toes and an old knee surgery, as his facial features barely showed any detail due to the explosion, according to his



Also standing next to the church gate was a female police officer, Police Corporal Asmaa Ahmed, who could not have known when she left her home at dawn that it would be the last time she would see her two daughters, Sandy and Rodayna. Rodayna, an infant, will never know her mother’s love.

Asmaa was the closest to the explosion, the innumerable pieces of her body making it impossible for anyone to identify her corpse. Her husband, Nabil Fathy, could only identify her by shreds of her clothes.

Nabil Fathy 1
Asmaa’s husband, Nabil Fathy, with his now-half-orphan daughter Sandy.

“Take care of our children,” Asmaa told her husband as she was leaving for duty at 3:30 a.m. “I hoped she would return safely to her daughters, but martyrdom is the greatest thing,” Fathy told


in an interview.

Asmaa was good-natured, sociable and cheerful, according to her colleagues.
“Girls, I would like to see you all around here in Alexandria today, let us gather before my wedding next month,” was the last thing Police Corporal Omneya Mohamed, one of Asmaa’s colleagues, posted to her friends on Whatsapp.

Omneya was another casualty of the bombing.

Asmaa and Omneya
Police Corporal Omneya Mohamed and Asmaa Ahmed

Omneya had a strong bond with her female colleagues; she even decided to ask them for ideas for her wedding party next month. Grievously, no wedding can be held without the bride.

Omneya’s broken-hearted mother barely identified the corpse, which she finally identified by the feet.

Nagwa 2
Brigadier General Nagwa al-Haggar chatting with Police Corporal Omneya Mohamed while on duty, the moment of the explosion.

Another mother, 53-year-old Brigadier General Nagwa al-Haggar, was another casualty, now join her other son, Lieutenant Mohab. Mohab, according to media outlets, was also a martyr. He lost his life on duty in the Sinai shortly after graduating from the Police Academy.

Nagwa with her son mahmoud
Egyptian Brigadier General Nagwa El-Haggar and her son Mahmoud.

“Nagwa was very respectful, she was very faithful, and was indeed very patient,” Mennatullah Mosa, Nagwa’s friend’s daughter, said.

Nagwa was among the police forces that were deployed to secure the church in Alexandria during Palm Sunday. She was just yards away from the gate as the suicide belt detonated.

Born in 1963, Nagwa graduated from the Police Academy in 1987.

The blasts come just one week before Easter. They replaced fireworks with explosions that brought tears, pain and despondency upon Egypt, and turned celebrations into sadness and mourning for the loss of the beloved of family and friends.

For more updates and news about the attacks please refer to the following link:



Leave a Comment

Be Social