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Roman Catholic Pope Francis prays for Egypt's Helwan church attack victims

Ahram Online , Sunday 31 Dec 2017
Pope Francis (AP)
Pope Francis (AP)
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In his last public appearance of 2017, Pope Francis of the Roman Catholic Church prayed on Sunday for the victims of the terrorist attack against an Egyptian Coptic church in the Cairo suburb of Helwan on Friday which left 10 dead, state-run news agency MENA reported.

"I express my closeness to the Coptic Orthodox brothers of Egypt who were struck two days ago by an attack on a church and a business on the outskirts of Cairo," said the Catholic pope in front of a crowd at Saint Peter's Square.

"May the Lord convert the heart of the violent," Francis, who visited Egypt in April 2017, said, praying for the souls of the victims and the recovery of the injured.

Nine people were killed and four others were injured when two gunmen opened fire outside the Mar Mina church after firing on a shop owned by a Christian citizen. The attack comes as Egypt's Christian population prepares to celebrate Orthodox Christmas next week on 7 January.

The terrorist organization Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack and released a video message allegedly directed towards one of the attackers.

The Daesh-affiliated and Egypt-based terror group Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis has claimed responsibility for many attacks against Egyptian Christians as well against security forces in Egypt over the past four years.

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