Monday, 24 January 2011

Egypt blames Gaza group for New Year's Day bombing

Egypt has said that a Palestinian branch of Al-Qa'ida was responsible for the New Year's Day bombing of a Coptic Church in Alexandria, which killed 23 people. Egypt's Interior Minister Habib Al-Adli said there was "decisive proof" that militants connected to the Islamist group were responsible for the attack on Al-Kidiseen Church. The Gaza based group, however, has denied connection to the bombing. A spokesman for the Army of Islam, Abu Mousab, said the group had no “connection to the church attack" but “praise those who did it".

Speaking in Egypt, during Police Day, al-Adli said: “We have decisive proof of their (Army of Islam's) heinous involvement in planning and carrying out such a villainous terrorist act.” During the ceremony, attended by Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak, Al-Adli also pointed out that the group had recruited Egyptians to help plan and carry out the bombing.

The attack, the worst of its kind since a Muslim-Christian dispute in 2000 led to anti-Christian riots in the town of El-Kosheh, leaving 21 Copts dead, led to several days of rioting by the country's Cops, who accused the government of failing to protect them.

During the ceremony, Mubarak commended the country's security forces and added that in light of the “proof” the police would now be able to, "set at rest the hearts of all Egyptians". He also stressed that the government believed that there was foreign involvement in the attack, rather than it being a sectarian religious assault carried out by Egyptians.

Sources: BBC News, Aljazeera, Reuters, Wall Street Journal

For more news and expert analysis about Egypt, please see Egypt Politics & Security.

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