Two gunman opened fire at the church of Mar-Mina in Helwan, south of Cairo, today Friday 29 December 2017, while the congregation was attending Holy 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.
The Health Ministry said that altogether, eight Copts had been killed, one policeman, and one gunman.
Five persons were injured and moved to hospital; two of them in critical condition.
A young woman, Christine Wadie, who suffered from a comminuted fracture and separated shoulder, required delicate surgery. Health Minister Ahmad Emad Edson Radi, himself an orthopaedic surgeon, headed to Nasser Institute Hospital where she had been moved, and operated on her.
A funeral service is being held for the martyrs at the church of the Holy Virgin in Helwan. They will be 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.
29 December 2017