6 Horrific Terror Attacks, Church Bombings and Beheadings of Christians in 2017
Although 2017 brought some significant victories for Christians in the fight against terror, such as the defeat of the Islamic State terror group in Iraq and seizing the de facto capital of its self-declared caliphate in Raqqa, Syria, believers suffered a number of shocking attacks in different parts of the world throughout the year.
Christians and other religious minorities died in numerous assaults carried out by radical groups. In many incidents, however, terrorists specifically targeted followers of Jesus Christ, forcing them to flee their homes or change their religion, while others were murdered.
Information on attacks in some regions, such as Iraq and Syria, still remains difficult to confirm, with the true extent of the genocide that Christians suffered there only now beginning to be unraveled.
The Christian Post compiled a list of six major deadly attacks that occurred elsewhere around the world, illustrating the pain and tragedy that has befallen people simply for their faith in Jesus.
1. Fulani kill 10 in Adamawa state
2017 saw a dramatic rise of terror attacks perpetrated by the nomadic Fulani Islamic herdsmen in Nigeria, who have been targeting Christians and trying to drive them out of the territory they claim.
Fulani terrorists raided the predominantly Christian village of Kwayine in Adamawa state on Jan. 7, destroying homes and killing 10 believers. Six police officers and four civilians were among the dead, with the survivors sharing some of the horrors they witnessed.
“The Fulanis came into the village yesterday at about 2 p.m. They came upon us suddenly, chased us off, scattered us and burned our houses. We fled. I barely escaped with my life. Only God knows where some of our people are now. We don’t know what we did to them,” one of the victims said.
Bishop Joseph Bagobiri of the Diocese of Kafanchan confirmed that although the conflict began partly over farming land disputes, there is now “religious hatred” driving the violence against Christians.
2. ISIS slaughters 47 on Palm Sunday
The most deadly attack on churches in 2017 occurred on Palm Sunday in Egypt, where the Islamic State terror group carried out bombings on two churches filled with worshipers.
The bombing of St. George’s Church in the northern city of Tanta killed 29 believers and injured another 78, where an explosive device was planted close to the altar, going off while the congregation was singing hymns.
A suicide blast killed 18 and injured another 48 at St. Mark’s Orthodox Coptic Cathedral in Alexandria soon after.
The head of Egypt’s Coptic Church, Pope Tawadros II, was reportedly inside St. Mark’s when the blast occurred, but the church leader was not injured.
IS, which increasingly turned its focus toward Egypt this past year, issued a chilling warning at the time stating that “a river of blood” from Christians is coming.
3. ISIS gunmen massacre 29 on way to monastery
Coptic Christians suffered another shocking attack at the hands of IS in May, when masked gunmen attacked two buses and a small truck in Minya province in Egypt as they were driving to a monastery.
Some survivors, including children, later described how their fathers refused to abandon their faith in Jesus Christ despite being held at gunpoint, which cost them their lives.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi vowed to increase security and set up checkpoints in Minya to search for the attackers and safeguard civilians, though Christians have been saying that the government is not yet doing enough to protect them.
4. Al-Shabaab beheads 9 in Kenya
Al-Shabaab, the Somali-based terror group that has been attacking Christians and security forces in neighboring Kenya for years, beheaded at least nine Christians in Jima village in Lamu County on July 8.
Around 15 of the radical extremists seized the nine men before beheading them, with a police source describing at the time that the believers were “slaughtered like chickens using knives.”
The terrorists were reportedly looking specifically for “non-Muslims” to kill, with the Kenya Red Cross helping civilians in the region flee as fears of the group’s growing presence spread.
Security officials pointed out that the beheading method of execution is something new for al-Shabaab, as for the past few years it has been associated mostly with IS.
5. 48 Christians killed in 9 days in Nigeria
The Fulani attacks on believers continued throughout 2017, though one particular nine-day period in October saw as many as 48 Christians massacred in separate incidents.
Church elder Dauda Samuel Kadiya of the Evangelical Church Winning All in Zanwrua explained how the Fulani broke through doors and destroyed houses and churches in the village.
“Every one of us ran to save his life,” Kadiya recalled. “I was shot at, but the bullet only bruised my hand.”
Agado Aura, a Roman Catholic, explained the the herdsmen smashed through windows and went door to door hunting for people.
“Having set fire on my house, they went to the next house and did the same. They continued burning houses until they were done, before they left,” he said.
The Rev. Andrew Okebe, the zonal coordinator of Christian Association of Nigeria, Miango District, spoke of another attack on an elementary school, where a number of women and children were killed while trying to hide from the terrorists.
6. ISIS kills 9 at church in Pakistan
IS took responsibility for the recent terror attack on Dec. 17 at Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in Quetta, Pakistan, where at least nine worshipers were killed and over 50 others were injured.
One of the radicals reportedly detonated himself at the gate of the church, while the second attacker was killed while he was shooting at congregants.
Officials credited the quick actions of security forces for preventing an even deadlier incident, as there were as many as 400 worshipers attending the church service at the time.
Baluchistan Police Chief Moazzam Ansari said that churches in the country have been on heightened alert, as Islamic radicals often increase their attacks around the Christmas season.