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Al-Sisi Declares State of Emergency While Egyptian Forces Kill jihadists Plotting Attack on Christian Monastery


 

Egyptian forces shoot dead seven jihadists planning to attack a Christian monastery days after bombing Coptic church as part of ISIS plan to divide the country

  • WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT 
  • Egyptian security forces killed seven suspected ISIS militants on Monday during a raid in Assuit province
  • Interior Ministry said the men, one of whom was a government employee, were planning attacks on Christians
  • Images show compound filled with machine guns, AK47s, belts of ammunition and extremist propaganda
  • Comes after 44 people were killed in two bomb attacks targeting minority Coptic Christians on Palm Sunday
  • President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has declared a three-month state of emergency and a crackdown on extremists

Egyptian security forces killed seven suspected ISIS militants as the extremists met on Monday to plan more attacks on minority Christians, the government has said.

The men were killed in a shootout in the southern province of Assuit. Authorities say the militants were planning to attack a monastery in Durunka, Christians across Assuit and Sohag provinces, and attack police officers, government buildings and a courthouse.

Authorities named three of the men as Hasan Abdel-Al Siddiq, 30, a government employee with the Directorate of Health, Islam Said Abdel Salam Ismail, 21, a law student, and 22-year-old Mustapha al-Sayyed Muhammad Dhahr.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi praised the work of his security forces and accused jihadis of trying to divide Egyptian society by attacking vulnerable minorities.

Egypt's Interior Ministry said security forces killed seven jihadis who were planning attacks on Christians on Monday

Authorities identified three of the men killed as Hasan Abdel-Al Siddiq, 30, a government employee , Islam Said Abdel Salam Ismail, 21, a law student, and 22-year-old Mustapha al-Sayyed Muhammad Dhahr (it is not known which of the men is pictured)

Security forces opened fire on Monday after the men, who were inside a remote desert compound, shot at them with heavy weapons, authorities said

Inside the bunker, officials found a variety of weapons plus documents outlining plans to attack a Christian monastery, police officers, judges and a courthouse

The raid came hours after President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi declared a state of emergency and vowed a crackdown on extremists

El-Sisi pledged to protect Egypt's religious minorities as part of his election campaign, and praised the work of his security forces after this raid took place on Monday

Officials said documents inside the bunker also discussed the power-structure of so-called Islamic State, which claimed responsibility for two bomb attack on Christians on Sunday

Also contained within the bunker was a motorbike, 

Security officials discovered the men hiding inside this compound in a remote part of Assuit province on Monday

A statement by Egypt’s Interior Ministry said the shootout started when the jihadis opened fire with heavy weapons as they were approached by members of the security services.

Security forces returned fire, killing the men. Images from the scene show a compound filled with machine guns, AK47s, belts and magazines of ammunition, and a motorbike.

Also contained inside the building were pads filled with notes on the organisation of so-called Islamic State, and details of their attack plans.

The raid came hours after Sisi declared a three-month state of emergency following two ISIS bomb attacks which killed 44 people in Tanta and Alexandria on Palm Sunday.

The announcement follows on from campaign promises by Sisi to protect religious minorities, who have long complained of persecution at the hands of extremists.

Elsewhere on Monday, hundreds of mourners gathered at Alexandria’s Monastery of Saint Mina to remember the 17 people killed at the city’s Coptic cathedral.

The blast came hours after a bomb struck another Coptic church in Tanta, a nearby city in the Nile Delta, that took the lives of 28 and wounded nearly 80.

In Alexandria, mourners were outraged by what they said was the state’s failure to keep them safe on one of their holiest days.

Devastated families of worshippers killed in an ISIS bomb attack in Egypt on Palm Sunday wept as they carried the coffins of their loved ones today

Amid heightened security, hundreds of mourners gathered at Alexandria's Monastery of Saint Mina to remember the 17 people killed at the city's Coptic cathedral

Hundreds gathered to pay their respects to those killed in the blast, in Alexandria. The explosion came hours after a bomb struck a Coptic church in Tanta, a nearby city in the Nile Delta, that took the lives of 28 and wounded nearly 80

In Alexandria, mourners were outraged by what they said was the state's failure to keep them safe on one of their holiest days

A man grieves at the funeral for those killed in a Palm Sunday church attack in Alexandria Egypt, at the Mar Amina church,

The twin attacks marked one of the bloodiest days in recent memory for Egypt's Christian minority,the largest in the Middle East

Both attacks were claimed by the ISIS, which has waged a campaign against Egypt's Christian minority. The Copts, whose presence in Egypt dates to the Roman era, have long complained of religious persecution and accused the state of not doing enough to protect them. Women cry during the funeral for those killed in a Palm Sunday church attack in Alexandria Egypt

Women hug and wail for the victims of the blast at the Coptic Christian Saint Mark's church in Alexandria

Women hug and wail for the victims of the blast at the Coptic Christian Saint Mark's church in Alexandria

They carried wooden coffins to the beat of drums interrupted by the wails of those dressed in all black.

‘Where should we go pray? They are attacking us in our churches. They don’t want us to pray but we will pray,’ said Samira Adly, 53, whose neighbours were killed in the attack.

‘Everyone is falling short…the government, the people… nothing is good.’

Earlier mourners filled the church in Tanta that had been torn apart in the bombing to commemorate victims.

They packed the streets leading to the Coptic Church of Mar Girgis – or St. George – to pay their respects while relatives inside laid their bodies across the coffins and wept.

A suicide bomber slipped past security and detonated the bomb while Christian worshippers were observing Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem, leaving blood splattered on the marble pillars while the sound of hymns turned to desperate screams. The blast killed 27 and injured 78 others.

Just two hours later, a suicide bomber entered St Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria, and killed 17.

Both explosions, claimed by ISIS, came at the start of Holy Week leading up to Easter, just weeks before Pope Francis is due to visit the Arab world’s most populous country.

ISIS claimed the attacks through its Aamaq news agency, having recently warned that it would step up violence against Egypt’s Christians.

The first explosion on Sunday occurred when a suicide bomber slipped past the church doors, which had already been closed as a security measure.

The terrorist made it past metal detectors and detonated the bomb near the altar.

Hundreds gathered outside the Tanta church shortly after the blast, some weeping and wearing black while inside, blown apart pews sat atop tiles soaked with blood.

Women wailed as caskets marked with the word 'martyr' were brought into the Mar Amina church in the coastal city of Alexandria

Mourners filled a church in Tanta, Egypt that had been torn apart in a terrorist bombing to bury the 27 victims claimed in one of two attacks on Palm Sunday

People in Tanta packed the streets leading to the Coptic Church of Mar Girgis - or St. George - to pay their respects

A suicide bomber slipped past security and detonated the bomb while Christian worshippers were observing Jesus' entry to Jerusalem on Palm SundayA suicide bomber slipped past security and detonated the bomb while Christian worshippers were observing Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday
Egyptians packed the church to attend the funeral of the victims of the Palm Sunday bombings

Men carry a cross as mourners gather for the funeral of the victims of the Palm Sunday bombings at the Monastery of Saint Mina

Relatives inside laid their bodies across the coffins and wept. The bombing in Tanta killed 27 and injured 78 others

ISIS claimed the attacks through its Aamaq news agency, having recently warned that it would step up violence against Egypt's ChristiansISIS claimed the attacks through its Aamaq news agency, having recently warned that it would step up violence against Egypt’s Christians

Women in black cry outside the funeral for those kille. Women wailed as caskets marked with the word 'martyr' were brought into the Mar Amina church

‘There was blood all over the floor and body parts scattered,’ a woman who was inside the church at the time of the attack said.

‘There was a huge explosion in the hall. Fire and smoke filled the room and the injuries were extremely severe,’ another woman, Vivian Fareeg, said.

CCTV footage captured the second attack in Alexandria, where a suicide bomber dressed in a blue pullover approached the gate at St Mark’s before he was told to go through a metal detector.

He passed a female police officer talking to another woman, and entered a metal detector before an explosion engulfed the area.

The atrocity was thought to have been aimed at Pope of Alexandria Tawadros II, who drew an especially large crowd as the leader of the ancient Coptic church. He was leading prayers in St Mark’s at the time but escaped unharmed.

‘These acts will not harm the unity and cohesion of the people,’ he was later quoted as saying by state media.

Three officers who died in the attack were named as Ahmed Ibrahim, Brigadier General Nagwa El-Haggar and Emad El-Rakiby.

After news of the two attacks sent shock waves across the world, Egyptians rallied against ISIS and declared ‘your terrorism brings us together’ on social media.

Muslims were also pictured lining up to give blood in support of Christians, who make up about 10 per cent of the country’s population.

Relatives stood outside the city morgue to collect their loved ones, and they sobbed during a mass funeral attended by hundreds

The assault on a religious minority increasingly targeted by Islamist militants poses a challenge to president al-Sisi, who has pledged to protect them as part of his campaign against extremism

The first suicide bomber set off an explosion in Tanta. About two hours later, another explosion ripped through a cathedral in Alexandria. Both attacks targeted Coptic churches

Nearly four dozen people were killed after two explosions targeting Coptic Christians in Tantra and Alexandria today. Pictured, the blood covered floor in St. George's Church in Tanta 

Priests saying mass in the cathedral in Tanta were sprayed with blood after the device exploded in the church's front row

Approximately ten per cent of the Egyptian population are Christian and have been targeted several times by ISIS terrorists

The three dead officers killed in the second attack in Alexandria were named as Ahmed Ibrahim, Brigadier General Nagwa El-Haggar and Emad El-Rakiby

The attacks occured on Palm Sunday, the start of Holy Week that culminates on Easter Sunday, commemorates the day Christians believe Jesus entered Jerusalem and was welcomed as the messiah, only to be crucified five days later

President Donald Trump tweeted that he is ‘so sad to hear of the terrorist attack’ against the U.S. ally but added that he has ‘great confidence’ that el-Sissi ‘will handle the situation properly.’

The two leaders met at the White House on April 3.

Grand Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, head of Egypt’s Al-Azhar – the leading center of learning in Sunni Islam – also condemned the attacks, calling them a ‘despicable terrorist bombing that targeted the lives of innocents.’

Both Israel and the Islamic Hamas movement ruling neighboring Gaza condemned the bombings as well.

The bombings added to fears that Islamic extremists who have long been battling security forces in the Sinai Peninsula are shifting their focus to civilians.

An Isis affiliate claimed a December suicide bombing at a Cairo church that killed about 30 people, mostly women, as well as a string of killings in the northern Sinai that caused hundreds of Christians to flee.

Egypt has struggled to combat a wave of Islamic militancy since the 2013 military overthrow of an elected Islamist president.

The Sinai-based IS affiliate has mainly attacked police and soldiers, but has also claimed bombings that killed civilians, including the downing of a Russian passenger jetliner in the Sinai in 2015.

This killed all 224 people onboard and devastated Egypt’s tourism industry.

And in April 1, a militant group claimed responsibility for a bomb attack targeting a police training center in Tanta, which wounded 16 people.

Egyptian media had previously reported that the church in Tanta had been targeted before, with a bomb defused there in late March.

The Copts were largely supportive of the military overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, and incurred the wrath of many of his followers, who attacked churches and other Christian institutions.

While the Copts have stood steadfast alongside the government, repeating the mantra that Egyptians were all being targeted by terrorists, an increase in attacks on Christians has tested that support.

8 thoughts on “Al-Sisi Declares State of Emergency While Egyptian Forces Kill jihadists Plotting Attack on Christian Monastery

  1. Islam wants Christians dead, well how about increasing the territory of Israel rather than decrease it’s size, a safe zone approved by the so called international humanitarian community to help with relocating these Copts into a new home and build an even more vibrant Israel.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Egyptian forces kill jihadists planning attack..”. I don’t think Egyptian forces are capable of this. Supposedly with these “jihadists” are written plans to attack monasteries. Who writes their attacks down on paper? I think it’s all a lie, staged to look like Sisi is doing something.

    Like

  3. It’s a pity these suicide bombers can’t send back YouTube videos of the hell they are experiencing as they find that “allah” is just the moon god of the pre-Christian desert tribes and the real God is now asking “and you have murdered how many people ….. for me?”

    Like

Published under FAIR USE of factual content citing US 17 U.S.C. § 107 fair use protection, Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976 and UK Section 30(1) of the 1988 Act.

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