Egypt MP Emara calls on interior minister to resign after Coptic church bombing

Gamal Essam El-Din , Monday 12 Dec 2016

MP Mohamed Emara said Sunday's church bombing, which killed 24 worshippers, has exposed 'the poor performance' of Egypt's interior minister Magdy Abdel-Ghaffar

Mohamed Emara, an independent MP from Egypt's Nile-delta governorate of Beheira, requested Monday that Minister of Interior Magdy Abdel-Ghaffar be dismissed from his position.

Emara, in an inquiry submitted to parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Aal, said the bomb attack on a Coptic cathedral in east Cairo on Sunday, which left 24 dead and more than 40 injured, has exposed Abdel-Ghaffar's poor performance and failure to take preventive security measures.

"I think the interior ministry and security apparatus are largely to blame for the horrible massacre which claimed the lives of 24 innocent Coptic Egyptians performing morning prayers in the cathedral in Abbasiya district on Sunday," said Emara.

"It has become clear that because there were no security guards standing in front of the cathedral complex, a terrorist woman was able to enter the building and plant 12 kilogrammes of highly explosive TNT, which killed 24 innocent worshippers," he claimed.

On Monday, Egypt's president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said that the attack on the church was carried out by a 22-year-old male suicide bomber. 

In comments after the funeral services for the victims, El-Sisi cautioned “Do not say it was a security flaw; what happened was an act of desperation".

Emara criticised the interior minister for "ignoring extensive criticism leveled at him on [multiple] television channels Sunday night, accusing him personally of poor performance and botched policies."

"Abdel-Ghaffar chose to ignore all the comments, not even expressing an apology, though he knew quite well that  the poor performance of his ministry's security apparatus was mainly to blame for this inhuman massacre."

Emara said he visited most of the Coptic churches in Beheira governorate on Sunday night. "Tight security measures were applied all of a sudden, but as usual these came too late, only after the attacks had claimed the lives of many innocent people," said Emara.

Emara concluded that Abdel-Ghaffar's resignation should be followed by a comprehensive review of security measures in place to safeguard Egyptian churches against terrorist attacks.

"Nobody ever imagined that a terrorist woman would be able to infiltrate the mother Coptic cathedral in Abbasiya, plant a bomb, and kill such a great number of innocent people," said Emara, adding that "security measures must change to protect churches from future terrorist attacks."

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