Advertisement

Islamic State claims responsibility for Egypt church bombing

The militant group also warned it plans to target more Christians in Egypt.

By
Stephen Feller
People carry a coffin as relatives of the victims of an attack at the Coptic Christian cathedral in Cairo, Egypt, on December 11, 2016. The Islamic State took credit for sending the suicide bomber to the church, where he set off an explosion that killed 25 and injured dozens. Photo by Mohamed Hossam/European Pressphoto Agency EPA/MOHAMED HOSSAM
People carry a coffin as relatives of the victims of an attack at the Coptic Christian cathedral in Cairo, Egypt, on December 11, 2016. The Islamic State took credit for sending the suicide bomber to the church, where he set off an explosion that killed 25 and injured dozens. Photo by Mohamed Hossam/European Pressphoto Agency EPA/MOHAMED HOSSAM

CAIRO, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- The Islamic State claimed Tuesday it was behind a church bombing in Egypt and said it plans to target more Christians there in the future.

Shafik Mahmoud Mohamed Mostafa was sent to the Coptic Christian cathedral by the Islamic State, the group said in a statement, where he detonated a suicide bomb in the latest attack on Christians in Egypt, killing himself and 25 others.

Advertisement

The Islamic State, also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh, is not the only militant group to stage attacks in Egypt since 2013 when President Mohammed Morsi was overthrown by the country's military. Morsi had been supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood, which also has targeted Christians in Egypt in the past.

The attack is among the worst the country has seen in recent years, including a 2011 bombing of another Coptic Christian church that was blamed by then-President Hosni Mubarack on "foreign fingers" operating in Egypt.

RELATED U.N.: 'Meltdown of humanity' in Aleppo as Syrian regime kills civilians

While many attacks by the Islamic State in Egypt have been against security and military forces, the bombing Sunday represents a shift toward what the militant group calls its "war on polytheism," an reference to Christianity in Egypt.

Advertisement

Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi identified the attacker Monday, with at least one member of his government suggesting the Muslim Brotherhood funded and helped Mostafa.

Though Mostafa was arrested in 2014 at a Muslim Brotherhood protest, other experts have said the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic State working together is unlikely, and the group's claim that it was behind the attack appears to disprove the Muslim Brotherhood theory.

RELATED Islamic State renews efforts to retake Syria's Palmyra

In addition to identifying the bomber, Egyptian forces have arrested four other suspects and are searching for two more connected to the attack, Sisi said Monday.

RELATED Child suicide bombers suspected in Nigerian market bombing

Latest Headlines