Egyptian security forces on alert ahead Christmas celebrations
Egyptian security forces
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CAIRO: Egyptian security forces are on alert to secure churches nationwide ahead of Coptic Christmas celebration Wednesday evening, Youm7 reported Wednesday.

A total of 360 churches across Egypt were inspected Wednesday morning in anticipation of explosive devices, a security official said on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to brief media.

Explosive experts of Cairo Security Directorate launched the inspection campaign in cooperation with traffic cops to inspect cars and to prevent presence of any cars in the vicinity of the churches, amid continuous combing campaigns during the celebrations.

Moreover, explosives experts will carry out inspections in the vicinity of embassies, consulates, and public institutions, the official continued.

Special Forces will participate in securing the churches that will be inspected by the Interior Ministers aides.

On 2011 Christmas Eve, the Two Saints Church of Alexandria was attacked, claiming the lives of more than 20 people and injuring over 90 others.

The Coptic calendar observes Christmas on Jan. 7. The Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of the See of St. Mark Tawadros II leads the Christmas mass in St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral is located in Cairo-based Abbassia District. The Celebration will be attended by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s special representative and prominent public figures.

Last year, Sisi has paid a surprise visit to the Cathedral, congratulating the Copts on their celebrations; Sisi’s visit was the first by a head of state to a Coptic Christmas mass since President Gamal Abdel Nasser.

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