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Egypt accuses Brotherhood of supporting church attackers

 Agencies |  2016-12-14 22:42:23.0  |  Cairo

Egypt’s interior ministry has accused fugitive Muslim Brotherhood leaders who have fled to Qatar of training and financing the perpetrators of the bomb attack on a Cairo church that killed 25 people.

It said investigations revealed the group was led by a suspect who received financial and logistical support and instructions to carry out the attacks by Brotherhood leaders residing in Qatar.

The Muslim Brotherhood had denied any involvement with the explosion at the Saint Peter and Saint Paul Church on Sunday.

The incident was the deadliest attack in recent memory on the Christian minority, who make up about 10 per cent of Egypt’s population.

In a statement, the interior ministry said investigations showed 22-year-old Mahmoud Shafik Mohamed Mostafa, the suspected suicide bomber, had been arrested in 2014 while securing Muslim Brotherhood convoys while armed. He was released in May the same year.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had named Mostafa as the suicide bomber earlier on Monday, during a funeral held for the victims.

Mostafa was wanted for two other cases in connection with fundamentalist groups, the ministry said in the statement.

DNA testing of body parts found at the scene matched with his family, it said.

During investigations, authorities found two explosive belts ready to be detonated, as well as other materials used to make explosive devices, at a hideout used by Mostafa and his group.

The attack occurred during Sunday service at the church adjacent to Saint Mark’s Cathedral, the seat of Coptic Pope Tawadros II.

There has been no claim of responsibility for the bombing, but Coptic Christians have been previously targeted in Egypt.

The interior ministry also named the four other people whom Sisi said had been arrested. 

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