Mar Girgis church - File photo/Mohamed El Hosary
CAIRO – 23 May 2017: The suspects accused of being involved in targeting three Egyptian churches over the past few months have confessed being trained by Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group.
A number of defendants said they were part of the 2013 pro-Muslim Brotherhood armed sit-in in Rabaa al-Adawiya Square, according to their detailed confessions.
They admitted joining both Al-Qaeda and IS group in Libya, adopting their takfiri thoughts, which allow them to declare rulers apostates, fight judicial authorities, armed forces and the police, target public facilities, and attack Christians.
In order to commit these crimes, the defendants said that they had received training on how to use firearms of various types, improve fitness, manufacture and detonate explosive devices and vests, and use safe electronic applications for communication such as “Telegram” to avoid being spotted by security authorities. They received military and security training in Sohag and Qena governorates.
To fund their terrorist cells, they said they stole cars smuggling goods and cigarettes near the Oasis Road, in addition to the manpower and funding provided by terrorist groups.
The confessions also included details on targeting the Botroseya Church on December 11, 2016. One of the defendants called Waleed Abu el-Magd confessed that they received orders to target the church on December 6, 2016, and were supplied with arms and explosive vests to carry out the attack.
Magd added that another defendant, Amr Abbas, was the one who set the explosion timing and divided roles among perpetrators, according to investigations.
The confessions also pointed out the details of targeting Al-Naqab checkpoint in Wadi Gedid governorate, south-west of Egypt in January 2017.
Moreover, the defendants admitted carrying out the Palm Sunday attacks on April 9, targeting Mar Girgis’ Church in Tanta and St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria. The Islamic State (IS) terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attacks, which left at least 45 dead and around 125 injured.