State securing churches ahead of Easter
Egyptian Security forces - YOUM7/Ahmed Ramadan
By AMIRA EL-FEKKI

CAIRO: Security forces have undertaken security measures ahead of Easter Sunday on April 20, Youm7 reported.

The security plan includes the protection of churches and surrounding areas such as nearby rooftops, with a provision of security cameras and coordination with explosive experts, as well as the increase of traffic security checks.

The public is advised not to gather in groups in front of churches, and reportedly those who wish to enter the churches must present a cross tattoo on their wrists, which is common to most Copts.

“Security authorities must aim at preventing attacks on churches from recurring, since churches are targeted by terrorist attacks, which has happened before and left victims,” Maj. Mohamed Nour el-Din, former Deputy Minister of Interior told el-Mogaz news website April 9.

Both Coptic political organizations the Maspiro Youth Coalition, Copts for Egypt, and We are all Mina Daniel refused to appoint volunteers to form human cordons to protect the churches,  instead for law reinforcement, groups reported on their social media accounts.

“There would be a direct threat to national security if Christian organizations and forces fought extremist Islamist movements,” according to Gamal Asaad, a religious thinker, al-Dostour news website reported Friday.

There is public fear of attack targeting Coptic celebrations, amid a series of attacks that have targeted Copts following the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi. In October 2013, four people were killed and 18 other injured when gunmen opened fire at a wedding crowd outside the Warraq Church.

The biggest attack occurred on the Church of the Saints on New Year’s Eve of 2011, where more than 20 people were killed and 95 others injured in a bomb explosion.

 

Additional reporting by Mahmoud Abdel Rady.

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