Rabat - In the southern Egyptian city of Assiut, police shot and killed seven ISIS militants after a dramatic shootout on Monday.
Rabat – In the southern Egyptian city of Assiut, police shot and killed seven ISIS militants after a dramatic shootout on Monday.
The Egyptian Ministry of the Interior issued a statement saying that the seven militants opened fire on Egyptian police when they were interrupted during preparations for another attack on Christians, according to Reuters.
“A group of Daesh sympathizers were hiding in one of Assiut province’s mountainous areas,” the statement read. It added that the group was meeting “to prepare explosive devices in preparation for carrying out a series terrorist attacks.”
According to ENCA.com, three of the men have been identified as Egyptian-born. The group is thought to have been gearing up for attacks not only in Assiut, but also in the province of Sohag. Future attacks on police and the courts were also being plotted.
Egyptian law enforcement also confiscated ammunition and weapons, a motorcycle and plenty of ISIS-written books and propaganda.
The incident comes just one day after Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, declared a three-month long state of emergency countrywide. This followed two suicide bombings of Coptic Christian churches on Sunday. The first blast occurred near the altar inside of St. George’s Church in Tanta, killing 27 people at worship. The second suicide bomber detonated his vest at a gate outside of St. Mark’s church in Alexandria, killing 17. Combined, more than 30 worshippers were reported injured in the blasts.
According to the Reuters report, Coptic Christians have been in Egypt since the days of ancient Rome. They have recorded a long history of persecution and have accused the government of not doing enough to guarantee their safety and freedom to worship.
Since Al-Sisi’s government ousted former President, Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Mursi, in 2013, they have instituted severe crackdowns on Islamists in Egypt.