Middle East and North Africa

Defiant Coptic youths chant, ‘There is no God but Jesus’

Thousands of Christians gathered for the funeral of the 29 Coptic Christians killed on Friday at the Church of the
Sacred Family in a southern Egyptian village eight members of whose community were among the 29 dead shot by suspect IS jihadists.

Bishop Agathon, of Maghagha and Edwa Diocese, presided ove
rthe funeral in which women, mostly dressed in black, wailed and in traditional manner slapped their faces in grief. Eight wooden coffins bearing golden crosses stood in front of the altar. Each coffin had a white piece of paper with the name of  the person inside.

The pains and tears soon turned into a defiant march as youths carrying a large wooden cross chanted: “With our soul, with our blood we will sacrifice ourselves for the sake of the Cross.”

They shouted as they marched. “There is no god but God and the Jesus is God!”
The despair was unmistakable at the funeral. “Did they deserve this? They were just going to work and then were killed,” said a woman,
as she wailed, “God will avenge us. We will not do anything violent because we are Christians and love is in our hearts. It is enough that they will go to hell,” she said.

Suspected Islamic State terrorists attacked a bus and a car taking Coptic Christians to the Mo
nastery of Saint Samuel the Confessor on Friday morning. Witnesses say three vehicles were attacked. Masked gunmen opened fire at the windows of the bus and when the bus stopped they came into the bus and shot all the men first then fired at the feet of the women and children. The gunmen then robbed the dead, taking all the gold the women were wearing.

As they fled the terrorists’ vehicles had a flat tyre. They stopped a truck with Christian workers in it, shot them and drove off in the truck. The eyewitness said one of the Islamic terrorist had a camera possibly recording the terrorist
attack.

Safwat Bushra who was an eyewitness on the road that morning said there was police checkpoint near the incident. “The officers and policemen at the checkpoints are known to have Islamist sympathies. Or at least they hate Copts,” he said. Reda Makary, a former army chief, whose 28-year-old nephew Nassef, who become a father for a third time just two months ago, was killed in the attack said in anger, “I tell (President) Sisi, you will have to account for your action in heaven.

“Of course there is no security. If there were, they wouldn’t have been killed,” Makary said.

Samuel Chalabi, 49, who lost his older brother Ishak in the attack, said, “As long as security forces don’t do their work properly, this will continue until all of us are eliminated,” he added. “It is always the same… we will be a little bit sad, they will pity us, but it will start again.” He added.