Egypt interior minister: Alexandria church bomber is dead

Ahram Online, Tuesday 25 Jan 2011

Alexandria church bomber 'unidentified' but he is not 'Egyptian at all', the Egyptian interior minister tells Al-Ahram

In a rare and lengthy interview, Interior Minister Habib El-Adly spoke to Al-Ahram's editor-in-chief Osama Saraya, on the New Year's Eve bombing of the Coptic church in Alexandria.

Discussing the details of the attack, El-Adly pointed to the Gaza-based Islamic Army of Palestine, which he accused of masterminding both the New Year's attack  as well as the bomb in Cairo's Hussein area in 2009, which left one French tourist dead.

The minister made sure to emphasise that the suicide bomber "was not Egyptian at all," and that there was no connection between the church bombing and the attack on a Christian family in a train in the town of Samalout a few days later.

El-Adly said that one of the primary suspects behind the New Year's attack was identified as one Ahmed Lotfy Ibrahim, who is said to have confessed his connection with the Islamic Army of Palestine after being apprehended abroad and extradited to Egypt.

Asked about any known details about the actual suicide bomber, he said the suspect  "Ahmed Lotfy doesn't know who it is, and as for us, the suicide bomber is dead."

Asked if there was clear evidence that there was only one suicide bomber, El-Adly could not be specific. "There's no certainty on this matter," he said, "from the body parts we were only able to configure a single head."

Egypt's general attorney, Abdel Magid Mahmoud, imposed a temporary ban on the media from publishing or releasing any material related to the investigation of the Alexandria church attack on the same day El-Adly gave interview to Al-Ahram daily.

Commenting on the anticipated protests in Egypt today,El-Adly said that the "youth, students and intellectuals … their protests in the streets will have no effect." Noting that state security is able to deter any such protest, he added that "any threat to the public or to private property will not be tolerated at all."

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