The criminal record of Mahmoud Mostapha saying he was apprehended in 2014 (photo: Ahram)
Local media outlets said on Monday that Mahmoud Shafiq Mohamed Mostafa, who was accused of carrying out a deadly suicide attack on Sunday in a church attached to St. Mark's Coptic cathedral, was apprehended in March 2014 for possession of firearms, and has since been at large.
On Monday afternoon, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said that the 22-year-old Mostafa was the suicide bomber behind the bomb attack that targeted a Coptic church in Cairo a day earlier.
Speaking at the state funeral for the 24 victims of the bombing, El-Sisi said "Mostafa sneaked into the church and detonated an explosive belt on Sunday.'
Shortly after the president's announcement, Al-Watan newspaper said it had published in March 2014 a news report of two men apprehended in Fayoum governorate, one of whom was the man the president identified as the bomber.
Al-Watan's 15 March 2014 report said the two men were arrested for participating in a march that attacked members of the anti-Muslim Brotherhood Tamarod movement in Fayoum governorate earlier that day.
The report said authorities found the two men with firearms in their possession.
Meanwhile, Al-Masry Al-Youm news website quoted on Monday security sources who said Mostafa has been residing in Sinai for the past two years.
The sources told Al-Masry Al-Youm Mostafa had joined the Sinai-based Islamist militant group Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, which has been carrying deadly attacks on security forces in parts of North Sinai in the last three years.
Al-Ahram Arabic news website published an image of a reported government document, revealing that Mostafa was born in Sonoras village in Fayoum governorate on 10 October 1994.
The document stated that Mostafa militant code name is "Abu Degana El-Kinany."
According to Al Youm Al-Sabea news website, Mostafa's mother told the website her son last called her last week and said he would not be returning home since he was wanted by the authorities.
"He didn’t tell me any details about his life; all I know is that he was arrested once and released on bail," Mostafa's mother said.
She confirmed to Al-Youm Al-Sabea Mostafa graduated from the Faculty of Science at Fayoum University.
Sunday's bombing was the deadliest attack on Egyptian Christians in years.
In 2011, at least 21 Coptic Christians were killed in a suicide attack which targeted a New Year's Eve mass at the Two Saints Church in Alexandria.