The Egyptian Coptic Church sent its condolences to the families of 16 police men killed in an ambush last week and expressed support for the war against terrorism.
Last week’s killings by the Islamist Hasm Movement took place in El Wahat area of Giza about 80 miles south-west of Cairo, when security forced launched an operation against an Islamist group responsible for attacks against the police and judges in the country’s capital. A further 13 police officers were killed in the attack.
Church leaders said in a statement.: “We will always remain supporters of all efforts and sacrifices of the army and police in their fights against terrorism.”
The Rev Andrea Zaki, head of Egypt’s Evangelical Church expressed his church’s support to the political leadership and security war against terrorism and stressed the importance of bringing the terrorists and their supporters to justice.
The Egyptian interior ministry said 16 police were killed but other sources raised the figure to around 50. About 15 militants were reportedly killed in the exchange of gun fire that followed.
A statement attributed to President Sisi, at a meeting with Egypt’s top security officials said: “Egypt will continue its confrontation against terrorism and those financing and standing behind it, with strength, decisiveness and efficiency until it is curbed.
Egypt’s parliament (22 October 2017) approved a three-month nationwide, extended state of emergency, in response to the attack and fight against terrorism.
The first ‘state of emergency approved by Parliament in April after the Palm Sunday suicide attacks that killed some 50 worshippers, expired on 11 October, prompting President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to issue a presidential decree 12 October.
Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, addressing the parliament, said, “I stand before you today in the painful and tough circumstances the country witnessed in the past few days, where several policemen sacrificed their lives confronting terrorist elements who have no religion except blood-shedding,”
Ismail added: “The declaration of the state of emergency at the time being is a necessary procedure, just like the case in established democratic countries that viewed the state of emergency as a necessity to preserve their stability and security.”
Militant Jihadi groups have attacked Christians and security forces killing hundreds in the northern Sinai region where Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis Islamic terror group which pledged allegiance to Islamic State in 2014, has been active since President El-Sisi came to power.
Hassan John is West Africa Editor and priest, Anglican Diocese of Jos