On Tuesday evening, the Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack that targeted the St. Peter and St. Paul Church which left 25 dead and 49 injured during mass on Sunday.
In a statement, IS named Abou Abdallah Al-Masry as the suicide bomber who carried out a “martyrdom operation” on a Christian house of worship located inside Egypt’s main Coptic cathedral in Abbasiya.
The statement read: “Thanks to God, brother Abou Abdallah Al-Masry martyred himself at a Christian temple in the Abbasiya suburb in central Cairo. He blew himself up using an explosive belt.”
According to the group’s statement, the explosion caused 80 casualties. IS added that it will target any “apostates” or “infidels” in Egypt and anywhere else in the world. Unlike former statements, the group did not publish any photos of the attack.
On Monday, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi identified 22-year-old Mahmoud Shafiq Mohamed Mostafa as the suicide bomber behind the attack on the St. Peter and St. Paul Church.
Following the announcement, the Ministry of Interior released a statement detailing Mostafa’s criminal record. Prosecution authorities also released pictures of the alleged attacker, as well as photographs that show the remaining fragments of the man’s body, including his feet and lower legs, and a shredded face.
Local news website Al-Watan published a photo of the suspect dated 15 March 2014, similar to the one released by the authorities, in which Mostafa stood with another man with weapons displayed on a table before them. Both men’s faces showed signs of having been assaulted.
The article said the two were arrested in Fayoum for possessing weapons and referred to as “members of the Muslim Brotherhood”. One of the two was named Mahmoud Mostafa Mohamed Ahmed, aged 16.
Despite the age difference between the bombing suspect, and the one mentioned in Al-Watan’s article, the Ministry of Interior has confirmed that they are both the same person.