Gunmen attacked a checkpoint a few hundred meters from the place of worship. It is one of the most important Christian buildings Egypt. An agent killed and four others wounded. Man arrested on suspicion of involvement in the attacks on the churches on Palm Sunday.
Cairo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Gunmen yesterday attacked a Egyptian security forces check point near the monastery of St. Catherine, in the South Sinai area, killing at least one policeman and wounding four more.
The Cairo Ministry of Health, confirmed the latest attack near a place of Christian worship, some ten days after the attacks of April 9, the churches of Tanta and Alessandria. In the attacks in the Coptic community, claimed by the militias of the Islamic State (IS), 45 people died, over a hundred were injured.
IS jihadi militias have also claimed the latter attack, which involved a checkpoint about 800 meters from the entrance of the monastery. It is one of the most important holy places for Christianity in Egypt. An incident that comes just 10 days before the visit of Pope Francis to Egypt.
The St. Catherine monastery, founded in the sixth century and located at the foot of Mount Sinai, is one of the oldest Christian places of worship in the world and a UNESCO world heritage site, as one of the most popular religious destinations for tourism. It belongs to the Eastern Orthodox Church. The attack once more confirms the escalation of violence against the Christian minority in Egypt, about 10% of the total population, despite the attempts of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (a former army general) to ensure security in Country.
Local security sources reported that the alert is maximum levels around all the most important religious and tourist sites of the country, particularly in resort overlooking the Red Sea, because of the risk of further violence.
Also yesterday, police arrested a man on suspicion of involvement in attacks on churches on Palm Sunday. The man's name is Ali Mahmoud Mohamed Hassan and is one of the 19 people identified by investigators for having participated - for various reasons - in the attacks. He was identified and arrested in the southern province of Qena, the same area of origin of the two suicide bombers who blew themselves up in Tanta and Alexandria.
The toll is of 43 dead and 114 wounded in the two attacks. A lot of the faithful want to bury the dead in the church's crypt. Daesh claims the attacks. The Muslim Brotherhood is complicit. President Al-Sisi declares a three-month state of emergency
Father Rafic Greiche emphasizes that terrorists "are stealing the joy of the feast." In spite of a climate of fear, yesterday churches across the country were packed with faithful. The government has declared a state of emergency. Need to strengthen intelligence work. He adds: Hard to know when, but "there will be more attacks."
The Interior Ministry reveals the name of attacker, discovered through DNA. Mahmoud Abdallah Hasan Mubarak, already known to the authorities and on a list of "suspects on the run". Continuing investigations to identify even the suicide bomber in Tanta. Coptic Orthodox, Catholics and Anglicans celebrate low key Easter in sign of mourning for the victims.
Anba Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak describes his joy for Pope Francis’s visit and his uneasiness towards his country, hit by terrorism. He talks about the fraternal relations with Tawadros II and those with Al Azhar and President el-Sisi, as well as the renewal of the Church with new bodies, social tasks, and enhanced role for the lay men and women.
Yesterday was Black Sunday for Christians around the world. Since 2013 more than 40 Egyptian churches have been torched or damaged. Muhammad signed a pact with the Christians, the pledge of St Catherine. What happened in Egypt against Copts is purely ideological and political. Saudi Arabia has plans for the region.