As the Coptic Church yesterday, 8 December, celebrated the arbaeen of seven Coptic pilgrims shot to death by Daesh (Islamic State IS) on 2 November 2018, on the road to the desert monastery of St Samuel the Confessor, the Interior Ministry announced its security forces had killed two terrorists involved in the shooting.
Arbaeen is literal for ‘forty’ in Egyptian, and denotes the passage of forty days since the death of a person; Egyptians observe the date in a tradition that goes back to ancient Egypt and was related to the process of mummification.
On 2 November, masked assailants in a four-wheel drive vehicle shot at a bus carrying Coptic pilgrims who had visited the monastery of Anba Samueel al-Muetarrif (St Samuel the Confessor) in the Minya region of the Western Desert, some 200km southwest Cairo. Seven Copts lost their lives, and another 18 were injured.
A statement issued by the Interior Ministry on 3 November, two days after the shooting, informed that the police had raided a hideout of IS terrorists, among them a number involved in the St Samuel Monastery operation, leaving 19 dead.
Yesterday’s statement said that the Interior Ministry efforts to catch the terrorists who executed the St Samuel Monastery massacre had resulted in the killing on 3 November 2018 of 19 members of the terror cell involved, who were hiding in mountain caves west of Minya.
In follow-up to the operation, and using as a lead mobile phones the terrorists had prised off their victims, the Ministry apparatuses were able to track a terrorist hideout in the mountains west of Upper Egypt’s Assiut region, some 350km south of Cairo, near the area of Dashlout-Farafra. Interior Ministry forces, in coordination with Egypt’s Armed Forces, raided the area and killed two others of the terrorists; they went by the code names as Abo-Mosaab and Abo-Saheeb. Security forces found on site three automatic rifles and a large quantity of different caliber bullets. The forces also seized a vehicle that belonged to the terrorists and the mobile phone that belonged to one of the Coptic martyrs, Kamal Youssef Shehata.
“Legal proceedings have been taken,” the Ministry statement said, “and the Supreme State Security Prosecution is investigating the incident. Other fleeing terrorist elements are being pursued,” the statement concluded.
The Coptic Church celebrated Mass for the souls of the martyrs Saturday 8 December. Anba Macarius, Bishop-General of Minya, presided over Mass at the church of al-Amir Tadros in Minya. Joining him in Mass were a number of bishops and priests. In his sermon, Anba Macarius prayed for the victims, survivors, and attackers.
Watani’s coverage of the terror incident:
9 December 2018