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Qaeda ordered bombing of Egypt church 2 weeks ago

Qaeda revealed targets and details of bomb-making

Published:

Al-Qaeda affiliate, the Islamic State of Iraq, had ordered its militants to attack Egypt's Coptic Christians two weeks before a Church was bombed in Alexandria killing 21 people, according to a statement posted on the group's website.

The website, named the Network of Islamic Glory, carried a statement calling militants to "wake up" and prepare for "bombing churches during Christmas celebrations."

"Peace be upon those who follow guidance...We did not forget your heinous action in Egypt and your kidnapping of those Muslim women who chose to discard the illusion of what you call Christianity," the group said, addressing what it called "the Crusader West."

"Therefore, I call upon myself and upon every Muslim jealous of the dignity of his sisters to bomb churches during Christmas celebrations, meaning at the time when churches are crowded," the statement added.

The group mentioned names of many churches to be targeted, including the Coptic Christian Saints Church in Alexandria, which was bombed on Saturday.

The group provided comprehensive details of each target church and concluded the details with words saying, "This is all what I could gather, my dear brother."

The statement also included information of how to make an explosive device saying, "Now we go to the preparation, and in order for the attack to be surprising and deadly…we have chosen the manual explosive device produced by the Islamic State of Iraq."

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak had accused "foreign hands" of carrying out the attack in Alexandria, which also injured 79 people.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but experts suspected al-Qaeda behind the attacks.

"The first and most likely possibility is that a sleeper cell of al Qaeda group carried out this operation and this would mean that al-Qaeda has penetrated the Islamic political movement in Egypt," said analyst Nabil Abdel-Fattah.

Alexandria governor Adel Labib "accused al Qaeda of planning the bombing", state television reported.

The Christian minority in Iraq is living in fear after a wave of attacks in recent months, with two people dying in Baghdad in the latest bombings on Thursday.

Officials are swift to play down sectarian differences and have been keen to emphasize national harmony before the September presidential poll.

*(Written by Mustapha Ajbaili)