Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat ordered on Sunday the referral of seven men accused of killing a policeman to the criminal court.
One policeman, Sergeant Mohamed Taha Sayed, was killed in 6th of October City and another was injured on 28 January when gunmen opened fire on the Church of the Virgin Mary in 6th of October City.
In a statement released on Sunday, the public prosecution stated that its investigation revealed that the seven suspects were attempting to rob a jewelry shop near the church at the time of the incident. The two policemen guarding the church reportedly tried to stop the robbery and were allegedly shot at by the suspects. In the exchange of fire, two of the suspects were injured; the group fled the scene, leaving behind their vehicle and birdshot rifle.
At the time of the incident, the Ministry of Interior had said that a black car stopped in front of the church and opened fire on the police forces guarding it.
The seven men are accused of establishing and managing a terrorist organisation which aims to halt state institutions’ activities, forcibly change the ruling regime, attack security forces, and endanger society. They are also charged with the premeditated murder of Sayed and the attempted murder of the other policemen present on the scene, the public prosecution said.
Four of the suspects are in preventative detention while an arrest warrant has been issued for the other three.
The rate of attacks on churches has rapidly increased following former president Mohamed Morsi’s ouster.
In October assailants opened fire on a church in the Giza neighbourhood of Al-Warraq during a wedding, leaving five dead.