Suspect confesses details of church shootings

Hendawi Sayed Mohamed has confessed to participating in the Naga Hammadi shootings along with two other suspects, after denying any involvement at the beginning of investigations into the case.

The drive-by shooting at Mar Yohana church in Naga Hammadi this Christmas Eve left seven dead and ten wounded.

Hendawi had asked to be returned to the prosecution on Saturday saying he had new information to give.

So Hendawi was returned to the prosecution and investigations continued. Hendawi said that he and the other two accused in this case–el-Kammouni and Qorashi–used one machine gun in the shootings. According to Hendawi, el-Kammouni opened fire at the victims while Qorashi drove the car with Hendawi sitting next to them. Meanwhile, all three suspects were moved to Assiut prison pending further investigations.

Hendawi added that his two accomplices, who are also friends of his, had visited him at his home and asked him to participate with them in an attack against Christians, to which he agreed.

On the day of the crime, el-Kammouni shot at their victims from the car. The shooting, he said, took five minutes. Then they spent the night hiding in sugar cane plantations after leaving the private car they had used for the crime on the Naga Hammadi-Qena road, said Hendawi.

Hendawi added that the three of them remained in the sugar cane plantations for 16 hours during which they called police officers and mediators to say they were turning themselves in, in order to avoid any clashes with the police. Investigations with the three suspects went on for six hours, during which each one was questioned individually.

Investigations showed that Qorashi’s right hand fingers are paralysed, so the prosecution referred him for a medical examination to determine whether someone with such a condition is capable of firing a gun.

Meanwhile, security bodies are continuing their investigations to arrest rioters after a fire broke out in Naga Hammadi and neighboring villages, burning down six houses and 16 shops. Muslims and Christians have filed 58 reports since incidents of arson increased.

The streets of Naga Hammadi have however been calm over the last two days as security tightened. Shops and government institutions have reopened their doors and life appears to have returned to normal.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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