Egypt: Four arrested in connection with Coptic church bombing

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Four suspects have been arrested in connection with the bombing at a Coptic Cathedral in Cairo. The explosion unfolded last month, which claimed many lives. Egypt’s Interior Ministry confirmed that mostly women and children were initially killed when a bomb exploded in a chapel adjoining St Mark’s Cathedral.

Explosion in Coptic Church

The Interior Ministry stated that one of the two together with three others who were part of the plan and intended to carry out more attacks. It was revealed that one suspect is still on the run. Moreover, the Egyptian police seized explosive devices, ammunition, and shotguns with those arrested.

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Shortly, after the attack, terror group Islamic State claimed responsibility for the explosion and declared to carry out more attacks against the Coptic Christians. Previously, in December the alleged bomber Mahmoud Shafik, was arrested.

United States Commission for International Religious Freedom in its report, “President al-Sisi was the first head of state to attend a Coptic Christmas Eve mass in January 2015. He did so again in January 2016, publicly apologizing that authorities had not yet finished rebuilding churches destroyed in August 2013 and pledging to complete the process within a year.

Following the unprecedented scale of violence against Copts that summer, the Egyptian government found that 29 people died in sectarian-related killings, 52 churches were completely destroyed, another 12 damaged, and numerous Christian-owned properties were destroyed.

At the end of the reporting period, at least half of the destroyed churches had been rebuilt and the other half were still being constructed or repaired. In February 2015, President al-Sisi offered condolences in person to Coptic Pope Tawadros after ISIL (the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) killed 20 Copts and one Ghanaian in Libya. In October, Egyptian authorities started building a new church, as ordered by President al-Sisi, to honor the slain Copts.”

“Over the past year, the number and severity of violent incidents targeting Copts and their property decreased significantly when compared to previous years; however, sporadic violence continued, particularly in Upper Egypt. For example, in June 2015, at the time of the two-year anniversary of the overthrow of former president Morsi, a number of Christian homes and properties were attacked, and in July, a mob firebombed a church in Alexandria and authorities reportedly responded slowly,” the report mentioned.