Female Egyptian officer 'did not back down' in Coptic blast

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Brig. Gen. Nagwa Al-Haggar.
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Sgt. Omneya Roshdy.
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Sgt. Asmaa Hussein.
Updated 11 April 2017
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Female Egyptian officer 'did not back down' in Coptic blast

JEDDAH: Three women Egyptian police officers died in Sunday’s bombings of two Coptic Churches, the first females to die in the line of duty from the Egyptian police force.
Egyptian Interior Ministry said that Brig. Gen. Nagwa Al-Haggar, 53, died heroically when she rushed to the aid of her male colleagues to prevent a suicide bomber from entering Church of St. Mark’s in Alexandria. The attacker detonated his bomb, killing Al-Haggar and Major Emad Al-Rakaybi.
The two other female police sergeants, Asmaa Hussein and Omneya Roshdy, were among a total of seven police officers killed on Monday.
Sgt. Asmaa Mohamed, a colleague of Hussein and Roshdy, told CBC channel that one of her colleagues was planning to get married in a month, while the other left two daughters behind. “But, despite everything, we continue to be on duty— whether me or my colleagues,” Mohamed said.
Details on how the other two female officers died were not immediately available.
A security source said that Al-Haggar “is considered the first woman to be killed during duty in the female police force in the history of the Interior Ministry,” Egyptian media reported.
Due to the nature of Al-Haggar’s work, she never expected to become a victim of a terror attack.
For several years, she worked peacefully with almost no great risks in the Work Permits Department at the Security Directorate of Alexandria. She was then summoned to secure the Church of St. Mark in Alexandria on Sunday.
Al-Haggar was assigned to be in charge of inspecting people entering the church and to maintain the security of worshipers arriving for Palm Sunday services.
Al-Haggar was conducting her inspections when she observed Major Al-Rakaybi and other police officers struggling with a man who was attempted to break into the church. Al-Haggar ran to Al-Rakaybi to assist him when the terrorist detonated his bomb, killing all Al-Haggar, Al-Rakaybi and other officers.
Al-Haggar’s picture along with Al-Rakaybi were posted on the official Facebook page of the Egyptian Ministry of Interior with a caption: “When the terrorist was exposed by the security forces, he blew himself up with members of the designated security service outside the church, resulting in the martyrdom of a number of police officers from the Security Directorate of Alexandria.”

WATCH: Stopped from entering church, terrorist explodes bomb

Other male police officers killed in the attack were Essam Adeeb, Mohamed Ibrahim and Mohamed Hassan.
Al-Haggar was close to the fight and did not back down despite the danger that began to emerge in the place, according to Egyptian media.
Al-Haggar comes from a family of police officers — married to a major general and a mother of a captain. She graduated from the Police Academy in 1987.
Last year, Al-Haggar lost a son, Mahab Ezz, who was a student in the Police Academy. Mahab died of a heart attack.
Al-Haggar martyred shortly after marrying off her eldest son, Mahmoud Ezz, which aroused the sympathy of many Egyptians on social media.
Daesh has reportedly claimed responsibility for the twin attack.
Muslim extremists have increasingly targeted Egypt’s Coptic Christians, who are the largest ethno-religious minority in Egypt and consists roughly 10 percent of the country’s population.
Earlier this year, Daesh released a video footage vowing to liberate Cairo and bring explosives. “To my brothers in captivity: rejoice, you believers, do not falter or grieve,” the jihadist said in the video. “I swear to God we will very soon liberate Cairo and free you from captivity. We will come bearing explosives. I swear we will, so rejoice you believers.”


Israel warns Syrians away from frontier as Assad closes in

Updated 45 min 20 sec ago
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Israel warns Syrians away from frontier as Assad closes in

  • The Syrians who approached the fence were 200 meters away, when an Israeli soldier told them to leave
  • The crowd, which included women and children, then walked back slowly toward the refugee encampment

GOLAN HEIGHTS: Dozens of Syrians approached the Israeli frontier on the Golan Heights on Tuesday in an apparent attempt to seek help or sanctuary from a Russian-backed Syrian army offensive, before turning back after a warning from Israeli forces.
Tens of thousands of Syrians have arrived near the frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights in the past month, fleeing a rapidly advancing offensive which has defeated rebels across a swathe of territory near Jordan and Israel.
“Go back before something bad happens. If you want us to be able to help you, go back,” an Israeli army officer on the Israeli side of a frontier fence told the crowd in Arabic through a megaphone. “Get a move on.”
The offensive has triggered the single biggest displacement of the war, with several hundred thousand people uprooted. Both Israel and Jordan have said they will not allow Syrians to cross into their territory.
Israel, which seized the Golan in the 1967 Middle East War, has given humanitarian aid to refugees in encampments close to a 1974 Israeli-Syrian disengagement line. Many of the displaced are sheltering within the disengagement zone that is monitored by a UN force.
The Syrians who approached the frontier fence stopped some 200 meters (yards) away, before an Israeli soldier told them to leave.
“You are on the border of the State of Israel. Go back, we don’t want to hurt you,” the soldier shouted in Arabic through a loudspeaker at the crowd, live Reuters TV footage showed.
The crowd, which included women and children, then walked back slowly toward the refugee encampment. Some stopped mid-way and waved white cloths in the direction of the Israeli frontier.
The Russian-backed offensive has advanced swiftly, unopposed by President Bashar Assad’s foreign adversaries. The United States, which once armed the southern rebels, told them not to expect it to intervene as the attack got underway last month.
A witness on the Syrian side of the Golan frontier said the sound of bombardment was drawing ever nearer. The United Nations said last week up to 160,000 Syrians had fled to Quneitra province, some in close proximity to the Golan area.

Government forces celebrate
Israel has threatened a harsh response to any attempt by Syrian forces to deploy in the disengagement zone, complicating the government offensive as it draws closer to the frontier.
Israel does not want its enemies Iran and Hezbollah, both allies of Assad, to move forces near its border.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking alongside US President Donald Trump on Monday, cited the need to restore the situation along the Golan borders to the state that prevailed before the outbreak of the Syrian war in 2011.
At least 14 people, including five children and some women, were killed when Syrian government forces dropped a barrel bomb on the village of Ain Al-Tineh 10 km (6 miles) from the Golan frontier, according to UOSSM, a medical aid charity that operates in the area.
Ahmad Al-Dbis, UOSSM safety and security manager, said another 35 people had been wounded in the attack which he said had hit a school. The casualties had fled to the village from nearby parts of the southwest.
Syrian state TV broadcast from a hilltop captured from rebels on Monday and overlooking the Golan frontier. Government fighters waved rifles and held aloft pictures of Assad as they celebrated on camera from the location, Al-Haara hill.
“We will liberate all Syria,” said one of the soldiers.