The Interior Ministry announced on Wednesday that it has arrested four additional suspects implicated in the December bombing of St. Peter and St. Paul Church. Although the suspects have not yet been referred to court, footage of their confessions, filmed by police personnel, was aired on television.
The December 11 bombing, for which the Islamic State has claimed responsibility, resulted in the deaths of 28 churchgoers and the injury of dozens of others.
In the footage, the suspects say they that participated in the January 25 revolution, occupied Tahrir Square, confronted police forces during the clashes on Mohamed Mahmoud Street, supported the Muslim Brotherhood in elections, distributed shotgun shells and prepared improvised explosives for use at the Rabea al-Adaweya sit-in and finally joined the Islamic State.
The filmed confessions include the suspects’ complete names and full frontal views of their faces. The men stated that they adopted more radical politics after being introduced to Islamic State videos.
The statement published by the Interior Ministry on Wednesday highlights that, pursuant to the orders of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, National Security Agency were able to determine the whereabouts of, and apprehend four “terrorist elements who carried out the attack,” including Karam Ibrahim, one of the principal planners of the attack. However, Mohab Qassem, whom the ministry identified as the other man who orchestrated the attack, remains at large.
“Those arrested were planning to carry out other terrorist operations, targeting vital installations in order to shake the country’s safety and stability,” the ministry’s statement asserted.
Police previously arrested four suspects, including one woman, while reconstructing a corpse which they claimed was that of the suicide bomber, identified as Mahmoud Shafiq Mostafa. He was said to be wearing a belt laden with explosives that he then detonated near the church pews designated for women and children.
Those responsible for the bombing of Alexandria’s ‘Two Saints Church’ on January 1, 2011 that claimed 23 lives have never been apprehended. The Interior Ministry initially attributed the attack to the Palestinian-based militia Army of Islam. Police forces then moved to arrest a number of ultra-conservative Egyptian Salafis whom it claimed were implicated in the bombing.
Sayyed Bilal, one of those arrested, died while being questioned in police custody. Defense lawyers claimed that he had been tortured to death to extract a confession. Bilal was subsequently found to not have been involved in the bombing. However, in February 2016, a court ruled that the officer who presided over Bilal’s interrogation was innocent of all criminal charges leveled against him.