In the morning of December 29, 2017, a terror attack was carried out outside the Coptic church in Helwan, south of Cairo. According to Egypt Today, there were around 10 people that died. Khaled Megahed, spokesman of the Health Ministry, said five were additionally injured from the incident. The attacker was allegedly supposed to detonate a bomb inside the church but was stopped by personnel from the Ministry of Interior. One policeman who died was said to be closing the gate in an attempt to stop the attacker from detonating the bomb inside the church when he was shot and killed.
Egypt’s National Council of Terrorism stated that they are working on improving security measures to avoid or at least deal with similar events more effectively in the future. The improvements include deploying more policemen around the churches and placing metal detectors in the area. The attack was carried out while police forces were stationed in Coptic churches as security measures for their upcoming celebration. These measures are employed in significant preparation for the Coptic Christmas celebrations happening on January 7, 2018.
The attacker was already identified, according to the investigators. They have also added that the gunman had been carrying out attacks since last year including an attack on a Ministry of Interior’s minibus in May 2016 which also killed a policeman and other personnel. The gunman was killed and apprehended by the police and was shown on TV lying on the ground with explosives on his vest. According to Cairo’s state prosecutor, an investigation has already been launched. However, in an article by Reuters, ISIS has claimed the attack through their news agency, Aamaq. According to Time, they claimed that the attack was carried out by a “security detail.”
Many states that have already offered condemnation and condolences in regard to the attack have hoped for Egypt’s fast recovery. The White House has said in a statement that they will still stand with Egypt in defeating terrorism. According to Ahram Online, USA, Germany, France, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, and Jordan have already released statements condemning the attack.