It is being reported that, despite the numerous attack on Christians in Egypt, the head of the Catholic Church has shunned using an armored vehicle when he tours the nation’s capital during his upcoming trip.

…[Pope Francis] will fly from Rome to Cairo on Friday for a two-day visit intended to build on inter-faith dialogue with Muslim leaders and to show solidarity with beleaguered Christian communities in the Middle East.

Despite his vulnerability as a potential terrorist target, the Pope will not travel through the streets of Cairo in an armoured vehicle, the Vatican said on Monday.

“The Pope will use a closed car to move around, but not an armoured one,” said Greg Burke, the Vatican spokesman. “That’s how he wanted it.”

The Pope has in the past likened bullet-proof vehicles to “sardine cans”, saying he does not like traveling in them because they prevent him from engaging with ordinary people.

This is an exceedingly troubling decision, based on simple risk analysis alone. The Pope is a high-value target and the Vatican has been a long-time target for ISIS terror planners.

While instant sainthood-by-martyrdom may have its appeal, Pope Francis should consider how an attack on the papal motorcade would endanger Christians as well as those who protect the entourage. Furthermore, an attack would likely elevate tensions between Catholics and Muslims of all stripes…even those, like Egypt’s reformation-seeking President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

In fact, 13 suspected ISIS terrorists have been arrested for planning additional attacks on Egypt’s Copts.

…The announcement came as Egypt’s Christians marked Easter under tight security a week after Palm Sunday bombings claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group killed 45 people at churches in the cities of Tanta and Alexandria.

The “13 terrorist elements” belonged to cells preparing attacks against “government and Christian institutions” and police in four northern provinces, including Alexandria, a ministry statement said.

…Security forces also discovered two farms in Alexandria and the neighbouring province of Beheira that were used to make explosives and store weapons, the ministry added.

And Christians aren’t the only prime targets, either. There are 8 suspects in a recently discovered plot to assassinate Sisi who have been detained.

Prosecutors said that Ahmed Bayoumi and Bassem Hussein confessed to plotting to assassinate Al-Sisi. Bayoumi, allegedly the “cell’s leader”, learnt that Al-Sisi would stay at a certain hotel suite during his stay in Makkah so he and Hussein purchased chemical cleaning tools and made explosives then put them in a storage area inside the suite, Egypt’s Al-Shorouk newspaper quoted prosecutors as saying.

The suspects planned to have Bayoumi’s wife wear an explosive belt and blow herself up inside the Grand Mosque while the rest of the suspects would carry out their plot, prosecutors added, according to Al-Shorouk.

I will pray that Pope Francis has a safe and successful trip to the Land of the Nile. If he does, it will be because of Divine Intervention and the security efforts made to work around the numerous papal quirks.


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