Africa 13.12.2016 01:03 pm

Egyptian authorities arrest suspects after deadly church bombing

Damage from the explosion inside Cairo's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral is seen inside the cathedral in Cairo, Egypt December 11, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Damage from the explosion inside Cairo's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral is seen inside the cathedral in Cairo, Egypt December 11, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

The president of Egypt called for the quick arrest of the perpetrators so they could be brought to book.

The Egyptian authorities have identified the suspect behind Sunday’s deadly bombing of St Peter’s Coptic Church in Cairo which left over 25 people dead and more than 50 injured.

Mahmoud Shafiq Mustafa, 22, was identified as the suicide bomber who detonated an explosive belt containing 10kg of TNT.

The suspect, whose body was found at the site of the bombing, was identified by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi on Monday as he attended a state-organised funeral for the victims, Egypt’s Daily News reported.

The suicide bomber was previously arrested in 2014 for being tied to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Mustafa and another young man had been in possession of a gun while they had participated in a rally organised by the Brotherhood, according to Mahmoud Saadawi, who was his lawyer in 2014.

Sisi added that three men and a woman were also arrested in connection with Sunday’s attack, while another two suspects were being hunted.

However, the president dismissed accusations that security forces and officials were also partly responsible for the attack by failing to provide the church with adequate security, following repeated attacks on Christian facilities in the past.

Shortly after the bombing, heated arguments and scuffles broke out between Coptic mourners and security officials with the former accusing police of being absent from the church as they ate a meal.

Protests later erupted outside the interior ministry in Cairo which is largely responsible for security in the North African country.

On Monday morning, Sisi met leading security figures, including Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, Defence Minister Sedki Sobhi, and Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar to discuss security conditions following the attack.

A presidential statement said that during the meeting, which was also attended by the heads of military intelligence and national security, a report outlining preliminary investigations was presented to the Egyptian president.

Sisi urged for the quick arrest of the perpetrators so they could be brought to trial.

 

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