Terror group Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the terrorist strike at Cairo’s Saint Peter and Saint Paul’s Coptic Church on Sunday, December 11. An official statement from the group said that I was a suicide attack and that the attack has killed and wounded about 80 “crusaders.” The statement further read that attack was carried out by Abu Abdallah El-Masri.
The attack had left 24 dead, while 49 other congregants were injured as a result of the explosion. On Monday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had announced that the bomber was identified as 22-years-old Mahmoud Shafiqe Muhamad Mustafa. Egyptian President further stated that four suspects had been arrested in connection with the Coptic church bombing, those arrested included one woman.
Previously on Sunday, December 11 a deadly explosion rocks Cairo’s Coptic Cathedral complex during Sunday Mass. As a result at least 24 people have been killed while 49 other were injured. The blast occurred inside Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral at the Botrosiya Church. Eye witnesses reveal the explosion hit just when the congregants had finished collectively reading the Bible and the priest was about to start his sermon. The church is 100-year-old, and is also known as the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul.
“We were all in shock, covered in dust, running through corpses that got thrown by the intensity of the blast.” One of the victims explained that it was literally hard to breathe because of the dust. He said that he stumbled around the pews before he gathered his senses and analyzed what had happened. “A minute passed by and I started to see flesh scattered everywhere around us. Even the ceiling had collapsed.
In this regard, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, stated: “Those who gathered to worship the Lord at his cathedral this morning in Cairo are family to us. We draw near to our Coptic brothers and sisters in prayer, sorrow and comfort. And we are confident in the healing power of our Lord Jesus Christ. The lives lost strengthen the faith of Christians everywhere and offer a testament to the great privilege of worshiping God in peace.
This weekend has witnessed the darkness of violence reach into many places, including Turkey, Somalia and the church building collapse in Nigeria. But the light still shines! Today let us offer a special prayer for all those facing persecution,” he said.
Father Rafic Greiche, an Egyptian Catholic stated: “Our heart is with Patriarch Tawadros II … and our brother church, and we wish for goodness in Egypt, and call on the heads of state to quickly bring those responsible to justice.” He added that the attack is “a cowardly, terrorist act on a house of God,” adding that “the church in our country is suffering due to the murder and spilling of blood of innocents.”
Bishop Fahim, from the Egyptian province of Minya stated: “We tell the terrorist that no matter what you do, Christians will remain steadfast in their faith and in adherence to their country, Egypt.”