One year on the martyrdom of eight Copts from Helwan at the hands of Muslim extremists, Anba Psenti, Bishop of Helwan, and Anba Zusima, Bishop of Etfeeh, joined in officiating Mass at the Church of the Holy Virgin in Helwan to commemorate the martyrs, and laid the foundation stone of a new church in Hadayeq Helwan in their honour. Helwan is a south suburb of Cairo. The two bishops were joined by a number of priests of Helwan Bishopric and deacons, and attended by the families of the martyrs and a great number of Coptic congregation.
On 29 December 2017, two gunman opened fire at the church of Mar-Mina in Helwan, while the congregation was attending Mass inside. The police security guards stationed outside the church exchanged fire with them; one security guard, a Muslim, as well as one gunman fell dead. The other gunman tried to flee through a side street but was caught by the other security guards. The church guards hastened to shut the gates of the church, and thus protected the congregation inside. But right outside the church, six Copts were killed. On their way to the church, the two gunmen had attacked a Coptic-owned shop that sells home appliances, and killed two Coptic brothers who worked there.
In December 2018, Egypt’s Prosecutor-General Nabil Ahmad Sadeq, referred to criminal court eleven suspects caught by the police in the wake of the December 2017 attack at the church of Mar-Mina in Helwan.
The 11 suspects are men aged between 30 and 58 and comprise labourers, agriculture peasants, technicians, businessmen, teachers, and traders. One of them, Ibrahim al-Dessouqi Ahmad, 42, is a policemen in al-Wasta, Beni Sweif, some 100km south of Cairo. The charges against them cover terror activities from 2016 to March 2018, and include premeditated murder of eight Egyptian citizens for their being Christian, also a policeman; intended murder; robbery; unlicensed procuring and carrying arms; founding and leading a terror organisation that aims at halting the application of the Constitution and law, prohibiting State institutions and public authorities from executing their jobs, assaulting the personal freedom of citizens, harming national unity and social peace through embracing the thought of Daesh also known as the Islamic State IS.
1 January 2019