Egypt names suicide bomber who carried out Cairo attack

Egyptian President says a suicide bomber carried out attack at Cairo's Coptic cathedral. Four suspects arrested.

Ben Ariel ,

Aftermath of Cairo bombing
Aftermath of Cairo bombing

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Monday that a suicide bomber carried out the terror attack that killed 25 people at Cairo's Coptic cathedral a day earlier.

Speaking at a state funeral for the victims and quoted by Reuters, Sisi said four people had been detained, including a woman, and security forces were seeking two more people believed to be involved in the attack.

"The attack brought us great pain but we will never be torn apart," the president said, according to Reuters. "We will only be much stronger. We will hold steadfast and, God willing, we will succeed."

At 49 people were wounded in Sunday’s attack. Security sources said a bomb containing at least 12 kg (26 pounds) of TNT exploded on a side of the church normally used by women.

Sisi did not name the organization the attackers were believed to belong to, and no group has claimed responsibility, but state news agency MENA reported that the bomber, as well as three of the suspects arrested, are from the town of Fayyoum, south of Cairo. A fourth suspect is from the Cairo suburb of Matariya. Both are areas typically associated with strong support for the Muslim Brotherhood, noted Reuters.

The Interior Ministry released a picture of the bomber, who was identified as Mahmoud Shafik Mohamed Mostafa, 22, whose nom de guerre was Abu Dajjana al-Kanani.

Coptic Christians, who make up about 10 percent of Egypt's population, have been previously targeted by jihadists.

In 2015, the Islamic State (ISIS) group released a video purportedly showing the beheading of the Coptic Christians it had captured in the Libyan capital Tripoli.

Reuters reported that exiled Muslim Brotherhood officials and local jihadist groups have joined the international community in condemnation.

ISIS supporters, on the other hand, celebrated on social media. The group has claimed attacks in Cairo and urged its supporters to launch attacks around the world as it goes on the defensive in its Iraqi and Syrian strongholds.

The last major attack on a Coptic church took place as worshippers left a New Year's service in Alexandria weeks before the start of the 2011 uprising, which led to the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak. At least 21 people were killed in that attack.