The Islamic State (IS) has published a video threatening Egyptian Christians and showing the last statement of a man it said was responsible for the deadly bombing of a Christian Coptic cathedral in Cairo in December.
The masked man in battle-dress, whom the group identified as Abu Abdallah Al Masri, is seen encouraging militants all over the world not to give up and promising Islamists jailed in Egypt they will be freed soon when the group “liberates” Cairo, Reuters reported.
President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi had already identified the bomber as a 22-year-old student called Mahmoud Shafik, and it is believed Abu Abdallah Al-Masri was his assumed name. He had been detained for two months in 2014 before joining an Islamic State cell in Sinai, the government said.
“Finally, to my brothers in captivity: rejoice, you believers, do not falter or grieve. I swear to God we will very soon liberate Cairo and free you from captivity. We will come bearing explosives, I swear we will, so rejoice you believers,” he said in the video.
The December bombing of St Mark’s Cathedral killed 28 people, mostly women and children.
IS claimed responsibility for the bombing, its deadliest attack in Egypt outside the Sinai Peninsula, where it has been waging an insurgency since 2013.
Egypt has a population of 90 million people, 10% of whom are Orthodox Copts, comprising the largest Christian community in the Middle East.
Meanwhile, two rockets were fired into southern Israel on Monday morning from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, without causing any injuries or deaths.
The ISIS-affilated Amaq News Agency claimed that the rockets were in response to Israel killing four of its members in Sinai on Saturday.
According to the report, the four were travelling in a vehicle in a Sinai village near Rafah on the border with Gaza. The dead Islamists reportedly included Mohammed Id from Gaza.
Two weeks ago an IS-affiliated group called Sinai Province fired several Grad rockets towards Israel’s Red Sea resort of Eilat.
The group stated that it would continue its war against “the infidels” and that the counter-insurgency against the organisation was a waste of time.
– African News Agency