Witness recalls shock during gun attack on Coptic Church in Egypt

A man who was present during the latest church attack near Cairo in Egypt recalled the shock he felt when he heard the sound of gunshots from a Christian-owned shop on Dec. 29.

Sama'an Farag, who works as a doorman at the Mar Mina Coptic Church, instinctively shut the doors to the house of worship when he heard gunshots and what sounded like ricocheting bullets on Friday. While the attack left at least 11 dead, the death toll could have been higher if the gunman had been able to penetrate the church, Reuters relayed.

Farag said he heard that the victims included a paralyzed man and his wife. The police conscript who had guarded the door beside him was also killed in the attack.

At the time the attack happen, there were a number of children attending Sunday school. When the gunshots were heard, the kids were hurried upstairs to safety.

"Imagine children from kindergarten to high school, they were all still inside the church," according to churchkeeper Saad Saeed. "God forbid if he (gunman) had entered the church - there would have been many more victims."

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the gun attack on Friday. In the wake of the incident, police have tightened security measures around places of worship ahead of the Christmas celebrations of Copts on Jan. 7.

Meanwhile, Pope Tawadros II conveyed his condolences to the victims of Friday's gun attack, state-run news firm MENA said. The Coptic leader denounced the "treachery and cowardliness" of those behind the deadly attack, Ahram reported.

Pope Tawadros II also expressed confidence that Egypt would remain strong even after the attack. The head of the Coptic Church said the country will be able to bring down the forces behind this violent incident and added that he was praying for all those martyred and injured in the rampage.

Source: Christian Daily