Eyewitnesses to Friday’s ISIS attack on a Cairo church released videos Saturday revealing that police failed to challenge the gunman for 10 minutes after the attack.
Mohammed Adel Hamza and other eyewitnesses recorded the aftermath of the attack on the Coptic church in which an ISIS affiliated gunman killed at least nine people, according to the Associated Press. The videos revealed that the gunman walked freely and nonchalantly for 10 minutes after the attack and even tried to strike up a brief exchange with a passing motorist before police responded to the scene and shot him.
“I saw people pelting the gunman with bottles and rocks, but he didn’t point his gun at any of them,” Hamza told the AP. “He started shooting as soon as the police appeared.”
The gunman walked down a residential street after the attack, seemingly oblivious to passerbys, firing once after a passing car, until police arrived and engaged him in a shootout. Nearby residents hurled insults at the gunman from their balconies and windows and then swarmed him after police shot him.
Another video from an eyewitness showed two citizens rushing to confront the attacker with a gun.
Al-Watan also reported on the second video, but blamed the attack on Jews, quoting an Egyptologist who praised the two citizens for daring to stand against the “claw of the big cat called the Zionist world.”
The videos circulating on social media garnered a barrage of criticism against government security forces for their slow response, as pro-government Egyptian media praised the police in their Friday coverage of the attack and said that they successfully prevented the ISIS militant from entering the church and detonating a bomb, according to Time.
“The alertness of security forces prevents a massacre at Mar Mina church,” read a Friday headline from pro-government news agency Al Watan, according to the AP. The state-run Al-Gomhuria echoed that angle with the headline “Alertness Defeats Terror And Conspiracies.”
The videos contradict Friday media accounts of the police response, showing that the gunman was just walking down the street away from the church, as opposed to trying to blow up the church.
The Interior Ministry of the Egyptian government said that police wounded the gunman and arrested him, but the Health Ministry said police killed him. The contradicting stories have not yet been reconciled. Egypt’s MENA news agency also quoted an anonymous security official who said that two attackers were involved. ISIS’ subsequent claim of responsibility through their news agency seemed to corroborate MENA’s claim about multiple attackers, saying that “security detail” carried out the attack.
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