UPDATE: Egypt Extends State of Emergency after Coptic Church Attack

Coptic Christian bombing
Police in the aftermath of the attack. (Source: BBC, EPA)

CAIRO (MENAFN – Jordan Times) – Egypt will extend its nationwide state of emergency for three months from January 13th to help tackle ‘the dangers and funding of terrorism,’ state news agency MENA said on Tuesday.

Egypt first imposed the current state of emergency last April after two church bombings killed at least 45 people. It was extended in July and again in October.

President Abdel Fattah Sisi issued a decree on Tuesday to extend the state of emergency.

The latest extension was to allow security forces to ‘take [measures] necessary to confront the dangers and funding of terrorism and safeguard security in all parts of the country,’ MENA reported, citing Egypt’s official gazette.

Egypt faces a Daesh insurgency in the remote North Sinai region that has killed hundreds of soldiers and policemen in recent years and has expanded to include attacks on civilians.

Other Islamists operating in the western desert bordering Libya have also attacked security forces.

Attacks south of Cairo in the past week, one of them claimed by Daesh, have targeted Christians.

The announcement comes a week after a wanted extremist killed nine people in an attack on a Coptic church south of the capital.

Egypt’s Coptic Christians make up about 10 per cent of the country’s 93 million people, and are the largest religious minority in the region.

Dozens of Christians have been killed in church bombings and shootings claimed by the Daesh group’s Egypt affiliate over the past year.

Sources: MENAFN, Jordan Times


January 4, 2018

CAIRO, Egypt – Twelve people are reported to have died in two attacks on Coptic Christians Friday in Helwan, a southern suburb of Cairo.

Police have been patrolling near Coptic Christian churches in anticipation of potential assaults during celebrations leading up to New Years Day and Coptic Christmas on January 7th.

When police approached two men on a motorcycle who were acting suspiciously near the Mar Mina church, the men opened fire, killing three of the officers.

Police managed to prevent the attackers from entering the church as those inside the building managed to close the gates. A witness reported that the gates did not stop a hail of bullets from reaching the congregants who had been in prayer.

One attacker died in the shootout. He was wearing a suicide vest. The other was later arrested.

It is not yet clear how many of the deceased were adherents or which were passersby.

A short while later another two Copt store owners were shot and killed in a targeted attack.

bullet holes from attack in Egypt
Bullet holes from the attack (Source: AP)

Coptic Christians, who represent about one-tenth of the population of 83.9 million, have long complained about discrimination and persecution. Copts account for nearly the entire Christian community in Egypt. More than 100 have been killed in attacks in 2017, including 45 in attacks on churches in April and 29 while on a bus trip to a monastery in May.

A spokesperson for the Coptic Orthodox Church has listed the names of the known dead from the church and funeral arrangements on their Facebook page.

Sources: AP, BBC

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