Egypt’s interior ministry identified suicide bomber in Alexandria church attack as 31-year-old Mohamed Hassan Mubarak Abdullah, a resident of Suez province, a statement said on Wednesday.
Abdullah detonated his explosives at the entrance to Saint Mark’s Cathedral, the historic seat of the Coptic Pope, killing 17 people as mass was being conducted. Hours earlier, another bomb tore through a church in Tanta, a city in the Nile Delta.
Egypt’s government imposed a three-month state of emergency in the wake of the attacks.
The interior ministry said in a statement that Abdullah had been a resident of Suez province and used to work for a petroleum company.
It posted a photograph on its Facebook page of a man it said was Abdullah, placing the image alongside a picture taken by a surveillance camera outside the church.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the Palm Sunday attacks, which killed 44 people in total and wounded scores more a week before the Coptic Easter.
The interior ministry said Abdullah had links with the extremist militant cell behind the December suicide bombing on Cairo’s main Coptic cathedral, an attack also claimed by ISIS.
Authorities are still trying to identify the Tanta attacker, the ministry said. It added that security forces killed seven suspected militants in a shootout on Monday as they met to plan attacks on minority Christians.
The statement named 19 other suspected militants believed to belong to the same cells and offered a 100 thousand Egyptian pound ($5,515.72) reward for any information on them.
Sunday’s attacks were the latest against a religious minority increasingly targeted by extremist militants, and a challenge to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who has pledged to protect them as part of his campaign against extremism.
ISIS has waged a low-level war against soldiers and police in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula for years but it is increasingly targeting Christians and broadening its reach into Egypt’s mainland.
Why is Pope Francis visiting Egypt?It has been almost two decades since a Roman Catholic Pope has been on an official visit to Egypt. It was the year 2000 when Pope John Paul II said in ... Features
Egypt church curtails Easter celebrations after bombingsEgypt’s Coptic Church announced on Wednesday that it would cut back Easter celebrations to a simple mass after twin bombings killed 45 ... Middle East
Terrorism in Egypt: the cultural mythMany of our problems in Egypt are simply a reflection of cultural traits that stimulate our thinking process. Terrorism, the most complicated ... Middle East
GRAPHIC: First photos emerge after deadly church bombing in EgyptWARNING: Graphic images - viewer discretion advised. The first images to be released following a blast that hit a church in the Egyptian city of ... Features