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‘Am Nseem: The Unsung Hero of Alexandria’s Cathedral Attack

‘Am Nseem: The Unsung Hero of Alexandria’s Cathedral Attack

In December, ISIS warned that they shall be attacking Egypt’s christians until “the only religion left will be Allah’s”. The warning came after a suicide bomber had blown up a cathedral in the heart of Cairo. One would think that on a day when thousands of Christians head to churches for celebrations, the security forces would take extra precautions.

Two churches, one in Tanta and another in Alexandria, were attacked on Palm Sunday. A suicide bomber walked into St. George Church in Al Gharbeyya Governorate and blew himself up, killing 28 and injuring more than 70.

Another bomber was about to walk into St. Mary Cathedral in Alexandria. But it was not the security forces, who had almost no presence at the entrance of the church, who stopped him, it was ‘Am Nseem, the gatekeeper.

Upon seeing the man attempt to walk into the church without passing by the electronic gate, ‘Am Nseem stopped and redirected him as shown in a camera video. At the electronic gate, right beside two women police officers, the belt was detonated.

If it were not for ‘Am Nseem, more than 18 lives would have been claimed at the church where Pope Tawadros II was just praying, and more than 40 would have walked away with injuries.

We mourn the loss of lives, and we thank ‘Am Nseem for doing his job and taking care of his church and its people. May he rest in peace.

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@AyaNaderM

Aya Nader is an independent journalist based in Egypt, published in Open Democracy, Daily News Egypt, The National, and Al-Monitor, among others. She is an MA candidate in International Relations at the American University in Cairo.

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