ISIS claims deadly Cairo church bombing

2016-12-14 08:33
File: AFP

File: AFP

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cairo - The Islamic State group claimed responsibility on Tuesday for a bomb attack on a Cairo church that killed 25 people, the first claim for one of the worst attacks on the Coptic Christian community in recent memory.

ISIS identified the suicide bomber who carried out Sunday's attack by the pseudonym Abu Abdallah al-Masri in a statement circulated on social media on Tuesday.

The bomber "got in between the crowd" and detonated his explosive belt, the jihadist group said in the statement.

The group said it would continue attacks against "every infidel and apostate in Egypt, and everywhere".

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi named the suicide bomber as Mahmoud Shafik Mohamed Mostafa, 22, during a funeral for the victims on Monday.

Egyptian authorities are battling an Islamist insurgency led by an Egyptian affiliate of ISIS.

Deadly dispersal 

While most of the insurgents' attacks have mainly targeted police and military in northern Sinai province, the jihadists have also targeted security forces and government officials in Cairo.

The attacks have worsened since the July 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. The ouster was led by Sisi, who was defence minister at the time.

Following the deadly dispersal by security forces of two pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo in August 2013, mobs attacked more than 40 churches nationwide, as well as dozens of schools, houses and businesses belonging to Copts.

They pointed to the appearance of Coptic Pope Tawadros II next to Sisi in July 2013, when the then army chief -- also surrounded by Muslim and opposition figures - announced Morsi's removal on television.

Sisi said Mostafa, the suspected suicide bomber, had detonated his explosive belt at the Saint Peter and Saint Paul Church, which is adjacent to Saint Mark's Cathedral, the seat of the Coptic pope.

The interior ministry said late on Monday that Mostafa had been identified by DNA tests from body parts which matched that of his family.

It also said Mostafa was working with a group that received logistical and financial support from Muslim Brotherhood members residing in Qatar.

The Muslim Brotherhood has denied any involvement with the incident.

Worst attack against Copts

The authorities have arrested four alleged members of this group, the interior ministry said.

They are still searching for others, including the suspected ringleader Mohab Mostafa el-Sayed Qassem, also known as "The Doctor", the ministry said.

Qassem travelled to Qatar in 2015 where he met some Brotherhood leaders who had fled Egypt, it claimed.

There, they offered him financial and logistical support to carry out attacks in Egypt and upon his return, he travelled to North Sinai, where Islamist insurgents trained him in using weapons and making explosive devices.

When Qassem returned to his home in Cairo, the Brotherhood members residing in Qatar instructed him to start preparing and planning for attacks targeting Copts.

The attacks were "aiming to foment a large-scale sectarian crisis" without linking the group with these attacks, the interior ministry said.

The ministry statement claims a group named The Egyptian Revolutionary Council, an alleged arm of the Brotherhood, has issued a statement on December 5 "vowing to target the heads of the Orthodox Church because of its support for the state."

Some analysts had warned that Islamists affiliated with the Brotherhood, though not necessarily under their control, could turn to serious violence after the 2013 post-coup crackdown.

Copts have faced persecution and discrimination dating back to the 30-year rule of Hosni Mubarak, who was toppled by a popular uprising in 2011.

Sunday's bombing was the worst attack against the Copts since a 2011 suicide bombing killed more than 20 worshippers outside a church in the coastal city of Alexandria.

Read more on:    abdel fattah al-sisi  |  egypt  |  north africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.