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Egyptian media accuses El-Baradei of alleged involvement in Coptic church bombing

Mohamed ElBaradei [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]
Mohamed ElBaradei [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]

Official Egyptian media sources said that Mahmoud Shafik Mohamed Mostafa, a 22-year-old suicide bomber who was allegedly declared by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to had been responsible for the Abbasiya Coptic church bombing, was not the only one involved in the explosion. Sources accused Muslim Brotherhood leaders along with other political figures, such as the Egyptian law scholar Mohamed El-Baradei, who was allegedly accused of being involved in the bombing which took place last week.

The Interior Ministry said Mahmoud had been arrested in March 2014 for carrying arms during a protest, and freed on bail after two months. It said he had joined a cell led by Mohab Mostafa Sayyed Qassem, a militant with links to Daesh fighters in Northern Sinai and exiled Brotherhood officials in Qatar, and was wanted in two other cases.

Egyptian TV presenter Rania Mahmoud Yassin accused on Saturday the former president deputy Mohamed El-Baradei of being involved in the church outbreak after a photo of El-Baraedi, with a hand watch indicating the church bombing exact timing, had been circulated on several social media outlets by activists.

Egypt’s Ministry of Interior had earlier accused Muslim Brotherhood leaders, who had fled to Qatar following the coup that toppled the former president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, of financing and directing those behind the attack which killed 24 and injured 49. Brotherhood officials, residing in Qatar, have later denied involvement in the explosion.

In a statement broadcast on state TV, the ministry said it has identified members of the “terrorist cell” involved in the bombing, and traced their leadership to a branch of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood group, which the state designates as a terrorist organisation, residing in Qatar.

The allegations were later denounced by GCC countries. Egyptian officials should confirm the accuracy of any information regarding terrorist attacks before announcing statements, GCC Secretary-General Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani said in a statement issued late Thursday, according to the Qatar News Agency (QNA).

“Issuing hasty statements without confirming them affects the strong relations between the GCC and the Arab republic of Egypt,” he added.

Daesh has recently claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that a suicide bomber whom it identified as Abu Abdallah Al-Masri had detonated his explosive belt inside the church.

“Every infidel and apostate in Egypt and everywhere should know that our war … continues,” Daesh said in a statement carried by its news agency Amaq.

The Egyptian government decided on Saturday to compensate the families of the victims killed in the St. Paul and St. Peter Church bombing. The families of the deceased will receive EGP 100,000 in compensation, along with a monthly pension of EGP 1,500 per victim, local media reported. The decision was announced during a cabinet meeting called to discuss various issues the state is currently facing.

The attack on the church took place during Sunday mass on 11 December, killing 26 people and injuring 49 others. The Coptic church is located inside the complex of St. Mark’s Cathedral, Egypt’s main Orthodox Church in Cairo’s Abbasiya.

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