Tanta Church - Archive
CAIRO – 13 May 2017: Suspects for the Palm Sunday attacks on Egyptian churches confessed their affiliation with the Islamic State (IS) leadership in Raqqa, Syria, which “trained them, taught them the Jihadist thoughts and provided them with manpower to contribute to the operations,” Al-Shorouk reported Friday.
The Egyptian prosecution started investigations with six suspects, belonging to “Soldiers of the Caliphate” group. They are accused of organizing and executing terrorist operations against Copts and the political system.
The suspects confessed that they participated with the Islamic State in targeting Mar Girgis’ Coptic Church in Tanta and St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria.
According to the suspects, “one of the reasons for their attacks is that Copts do not pay tribute to the organization.” They added that “they do not recognize the safety accorded to them (Copts) by the Egyptian government,” which the organization considers as “heretic.”
They further affirmed that “they are of capable taking up arms and fighting the military in the future,” emphasizing that their convictions permit “captivity of Copts,” according to Al-Shorouk.
The investigations further revealed that the cell had targeted a number of Coptic entities, including the church of Mar Yohanna’s (St. John) in Zeitoun, Cairo, St. Peter’s Church and the Evangelical Church, as well a number of media, judicial and political figures, and foreign ambassadors set to be assassinated.
Rami Abdel Hamid, one of the members who was in charge of providing shelter and buying the necessary equipment to make the explosives and weapons, was assigned to harbor the suicide bomber who executed Alexandria church’s attack, Al-Shorouk stated quoting official investigations. Another suspect, Alaa Mohamed, was responsible for observing the chosen targets, in collaboration with Mohamed Hamdy who organized the meetings of the cell members.
Mar Girgis’ Church in Tanta and St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria were attacked during Palm Sunday services on April 9, leaving at least 45 dead and around 125 injured.