Islamic State claims Cairo church bombing that killed 25

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Updated, December 14
The Islamic State claimed responsibility on Tuesday for a bomb attack on a Cairo church that killed 25 people, the first claim for one of the worst attacks on the Coptic Christian community in recent memory. IS identified the suicide bomber who carried out Sunday’s attack by the pseudonym Abu Abdallah al-Masri in a statement circulated on social media on Tuesday. The bomber “got in between the crowd” and detonated his explosive belt, the militant group said in the statement. The group said it would continue attacks against “every infidel and apostate in Egypt, and everywhere”. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi named the suicide bomber as Mahmoud Shafik Mohamed Mostafa, 22, during a funeral for the victims on Monday.
Egyptian authorities are battling an Islamist insurgency led by an Egyptian affiliate of IS. While most of the insurgents’ attacks have mainly targeted police and military in northern Sinai province, the jihadists have also targeted security forces and government officials in Cairo. The attacks have worsened since the July 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. The ouster was led by Sisi, who was defence minister at the time. Following the deadly dispersal by security forces of two pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo in August 2013, mobs attacked more than 40 churches nationwide, as well as dozens of schools, houses and businesses belonging to Copts. They pointed to the appearance of Coptic Pope Tawadros II next to Sisi in July 2013, when the then army chief — also surrounded by Muslim and opposition figures — announced Morsi’s removal on television. Sisi said Mostafa, the suspected suicide bomber, had detonated his explosive belt at the Saint Peter and Saint Paul Church, which is adjacent to Saint Mark’s Cathedral, the seat of the Coptic pope.
The interior ministry said late on Monday that Mostafa had been identified by DNA tests from body parts which matched that of his family.

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