People gather at the site of attack on a church in the Helwan district south of Cairo, Egypt December 29, 2017 (Photo: Reuters )
A number of Western and Arab countries including the USA, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, and Jordan condemned Friday's terrorist attack on a church in Egypt's Helwan, which left nine killed and five injured
The US embassy in Cairo said on their official Twitter account that the United States "stands steadfastly with the people of Egypt in the face of such cowardly attacks."
The German embassy in Cairo has also condemned the terrorist attack, saying that there is no justification for attacks on peaceful worshippers of any religion, affirming that Germany stands by Egypt and Egyptians in the war against terrorism.
The German ambassador in Cairo Julius Georg Luy added: "I am filled with sadness that terrorism revealed its inhumane face by attacking places of worship, even at the end of this year, and it cannot be allowed, and it will not be able to part Egyptians.”
A spokesperson for the French foreign ministry stressed his country's solidarity with and support for Egypt in its war on terrorism, referring to the intensified bilateral talks between the two countries on that issue at all levels, which Egypt and France intend to consolidate in the coming months.
In a statement, the spokesperson added that France condemns the attack and extends its condolences to Egypt, adding that these acts will not jeopardise the foundation of tolerance that distinguishes Egyptian society.
Several Arab countries have also condemned the terrorist attack.
Saudi King Salman Abdulaziz Al-Saud conveyed his deepest condolences via cable to Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, according to statements reported by the Saudi Press Agency.
"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia firmly stands with the Arab Republic of Egypt and its people against whoever dares to harm Egypt's security and stability,” the cable read.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman also offered his condolences to the Egyptian President, expressing his “strong condemnation and denunciation of this sinful terrorist act”.
Kuwaiti Emir Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah sent a condolence telegram to El-Sisi, saying that "this terrorist act violates all religious laws and human values, as it targets innocent safe souls, and disputes the security and stability of our brotherly country."
Al-Sabah stressed his country's support for all measures taken by Egypt to protect its security and stability.
UAE also condemned these "criminal acts," stressing its rejection of all forms of violence and terrorism, affirming its strong support for Egypt against these dangerous crimes, a statement by UAE official news agency was reported by MENA.
The Jordanian minister of media affairs, Mohamed Al-Momeny, also condemned the “criminal” attack, praising the efforts of Egyptian security bodies in foiling the attempt that "would have led to catastrophic results, leaving more victims," and affirming his country's support for the Egyptian government and people.
The Palestinian ambassador to Egypt, the Yemeni foreign ministry, and Oman’s government have also condemned that attack, stressing their countries' support to Egypt in its war on terrorism.
The interior ministry said in a statement on Friday afternoon that police had arrested the attacker who attempted to drive through security forces outside the church armed with a machine gun, ammunition and a bomb that he intended to detonate in the church.
The ministry said he killed two people when he opened fire on a shop, before heading to the church where he shot dead seven people, including a policeman.
The arrested attacker is an active terrorist who has carried out a number of terrorist attacks targeting police and civilians, the statement added.
Cairo's security chief and a number of security officials visited the scene of the attack.
Friday's attack took place as Egyptian Coptic Christians, who make up around 10 percent of the country's 93 million population, are preparing for Christmas on 7 January.
Dozens of Christians have been killed in terrorist attacks on churches and congregations in recent years.
Police have deployed 230,000 personnel to protect churches, parks and other vital public institutions during the Christmas season.