Egypt’s Prosecutor-General Nabil Ahmad Sadeq, has referred to criminal court eleven suspects caught by the police in the wake of an attack on 29 December 2017 against Copts in front of the church of Mar-Mina in the Cairo southern suburb of 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 nine 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.
On 29 December 2017, two gunman opened fire at the church of Mar-Mina in Helwan, south of Cairo, 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.
The two gunmen had, on their way to the church, attacked a Coptic-owned shop that sells home appliances, killing two Coptic brothers that worked there.
Five persons were injured and moved to hospital.
A funeral service was the following day held for the dead at the church of the Holy Virgin in Helwan, and they were buried in a collective tomb at the 15 May cemetery.
President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi condemned the attack which he described as “vile and despicable, against a place of God”. He said such attacks would not sow divisions among Egyptians, as they were meant to.
18 December 2018