December 29, 2017: Armed terrorists attacked the Church of Mar Mina and Pope Cyril in Helwan killing 9 and injuring 4, two of whom are in critical condition. When they failed to storm the church because of a lock-down, they went to a store owned by two Coptic brothers Romani and Atef Shaker,
Nermeen Sadiq died in the attack after asking her children to run inside the church.
and killed them both. According to eyewitnesses, there were 3 attackers, one of whom was wearing an explosive belt. The attack occurred at 11 am Friday morning as people were leaving the Church. [Update Dec 30: an eyewitness says it was only one attacker].
Police put all churches in the area in lock-down as they continued to secure surrounding areas. Locking the church doors actually saved the church from the attack and the terrorists were unable to storm it. The Helwan church issued a statement confirming the attack:
بخصوص الاعتداء على كنيسة الشهيد مارمينا ومحل يملكه مسيحي بحلوان
تعرضت كنيسة الشهيد مارمينا بحلوان صباح اليوم لاعتداء إرهابي بإطلاق أعيرة نارية، تجاه الكنيسة، من قبل مجهولين،ما أسفر حتى الآن عن استشهاد شخص من القوة الأمنية المكلفة بتأمين الكنيسة وخمسة من شعب الكنيسة بالاضافة لعدد من المصابين
It should be noted that attacks on churches are now expected for Christmas and the New Year. Continue reading
Several incidents regarding the Copts have occurred in the past few months. In spite of the incidents, Coptic leadership and Coptic parliamentarians continue to express their support of, and loyalty to, the regime and its leadership.
The incidents are mentioned here in reverse chronological order.
Atfeeh, Province of Giza – Dec 22:
قرية كفر الواصلين مركز اطفيح
A rumor spread that a bell would be hung on top of a three story building that hosts a church and its services including child care and an events hall. Following Friday prayers a Muslim congregation marched to the church and promised to destroy it, pelting it with stones and injuring three women. The building is owned by the church which is awaiting licensing after a Coptic owner sold it to the Church which named it El Amir Tadros Church.
Security ‘sources’ denied anything was happening in Atfeeh and stated that it was some minor incident. But it wasn’t.
Attiya beaten and imprisoned
Police finally intervened and 15 people were arrested. The Egyptian prosecutor also ordered the jailing of the Coptic owner of the building, a 63 year old man known as Am Eid Attiya, who was severely beaten and has been hospitalized, accusing him of establishing a house of worship without proper authorization and conducting prayers with his priest! Another attempt at forcing Copts into reconciliation session. Parliamentarians, who had not even visited the area, called for a reconciliation session.
The case remains open. Continue reading
Entrance to the Monastery of Anba Samuel the Confessor
convoy of three bus and two smaller buses carrying mostly Coptic children and women on their way to Anba Samuel the Confessor Monastery in Minya, Upper Egypt, has been attacked by 10 masked gunmen, killing 39 29 and injuring 27 others. According to Maghagha Bishopric, the terrorists took all the jewelery and money from the victims before they fled. According to survivors, the militants were dressed in military clothes but the Ministry of Interior said they could not verify this. . In addition, a truck carrying some workers from Minya who work as laborers in the monastery, came upon the convoy and the attack, and the terrorists opened fire on them as well.
Warning of attack
Journalist Nader Shukri says the terrorists threw flyers in the buses after killing the Copts that basically said ‘congratulated people on the beginning of Ramadan and fasting’!! It also had an explanation of the benefits of fasting. ?! صوما مقبولا وذنبا مغفورا وكل سنة وانتم طيبين [Updates to follow as more news becomes available].
Several embassies, among them the US embassy in Cairo, had warned Egypt of an imminent attack the day before.
Besides the declaration of a state of emergency, there are several significant events and measures taken since the bombings: [please note all new updates will be at the very end of this post]
First: By the Regime: