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

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.”

Terror groups continue to recruit US citizens online

Updated 18 sec ago

Terror groups continue to recruit US citizens online

  • In the past year, at least four US citizens have been convicted of funding terrorism or volunteering to commit terrorist acts overseas
  • US Attorney Audrey Strauss: Clark pledged allegiance to Daesh and posted calls for attacks on the public and institutions in New York on encrypted pro-Daesh chatrooms

CHICAGO: Terrorist groups in Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq are successfully using online methods to recruit American citizens, according to officials from the US Justice Department and the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

In the past year, at least four US citizens have been convicted of funding terrorism or volunteering to commit terrorist acts overseas. On Aug. 11, 30-year-old Jesus Wilfredo Encarnacion was sentenced to 15 years in prison after attempting to join the Lashkar e-Tayyiba terrorist group in Pakistan.

Zachary Clark, 41, also known as “Umar Kabir,” pleaded guilty on Aug. 10 to providing material support to Daesh. He faces up to 20 years behind bars. Delowar Mohammed Hossain, 33, was arrested in July 2019 at JFK International Airport, as he attempted to travel to Afghanistan to support Taliban efforts to kill US soldiers.

Samantha Marie Elhassani, 34, traveled to Syria and Hong Kong with $30,000 to fund a terrorist attack planned by her husband and brother. She was charged in August 2018 and pleaded guilty in November last year. Encarnacion, Clark and Hossain lived in New York and Elhassani is from Indiana.

“Unfortunately, individuals continue to attempt to travel to foreign countries to support terrorist organizations,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers. “Encarnacion’s sentence reflects the seriousness with which the justice system takes these efforts.

“The National Security Division remains committed to identifying and holding accountable those who seek to join and support designated foreign terrorist organizations.”

Encarnacion planned to travel abroad to join and train with Lashkar e-Tayyiba, an organization known for targeting civilians, and carry out shootings, bombings and beheadings in its name, said Audrey Strauss, acting US attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Clark “pledged allegiance to Daesh and posted calls for attacks on the public and institutions in New York on encrypted pro-Daesh chatrooms,” Strauss said. He also “posted detailed instructions for carrying out those violent acts,” she added, distributing manuals with titles such as “Knife Attacks” and “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of your Mom” in encrypted chat rooms set up to attract Daesh recruits.

“Clark’s efforts to incite deadly violence on behalf of (Daesh) have been silenced, and he now awaits sentencing for his crimes,” Strauss said. He credited for the arrest the efforts of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, which includes FBI agents and detectives from the New York Police Department.

William F. Sweeney Jr., the assistant director-in-charge of the FBI’s New York field office, said that Hossain’s “deadly plans” were also scuppered by task force.

“The lure of radical ideologies comes from many sources and just because the Taliban may seem like an old and out-of-vogue extremist group, it shouldn’t be underestimated,” he added.

Elhassani, a mother of two young children, became involved with Daesh when her husband and his brother decided to travel to Syria to join the group. Between November 2014 and April 2015 she made multiple trips to Hong Kong carrying more than $30,000 in cash and gold, which was deposited in a safe deposit box there.

Elhassani went to great lengths to assist her husband and brother-in-law, officials said, including melting down gold and making it look like jewelry. She was arrested in Syria by the Syrian Democratic Force and handed over to US law enforcement.