Alexandria bombing suspect was extradited from Kuwait to Egypt prior to attack: Kuwaiti newspaper

Ahram Online , Tuesday 11 Apr 2017

Church bombings
A general view shows forensics collecting evidence at the site of a bomb blast which struck worshippers gathering to celebrate Palm Sunday at the Mar Girgis Coptic Church in the Nile Delta City of Tanta, 120 kilometres (75 miles) north of Cairo, on April 9, 2017 AFP

One of the prime suspects in the Alexandria church bombing on Palm Sunday was extradited from Kuwait to Egypt prior to the attack at the request of Egyptian authorities, according to Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Qabas on Monday.

The newspaper reported that, according to Kuwaiti security sources, the suspect entered Kuwait in 2016 and worked there as an accountant.

Kuwaiti intelligence then summoned him for questioning after receiving information from Egypt suggesting he had links to the Islamic State (IS) group, according to the article.

The suspect was then extradited to Egypt after Kuwaiti security services confirmed his links to the group.

However, once in Egypt, the suspect was apparently released, for reasons that are unclear, the sources told Al-Qabas.

According to Al-Ahram daily newspaper, Egyptian officials have established the identities of those responsible for the Palm Sunday bombings, but their names have yet to be made public.

The IS group claimed responsibility for the two deadly blasts that hit Egypt's St George Cathedral in Tanta and St Mark's Cathedral in Alexandria on Palm Sunday, killing 44 and injuring dozens more during prayer services, naming the Alexandria suicide bomber as Aba Isaac Al-Masry (Aba Isaac the Egyptian) and the Tanta suicide bomber as Aba Al-Baraa Al-Masry (Aba Al-Baraa the Egyptian).

On Monday, Egypt's interior ministry said that security forces had killed seven suspected IS group sympathisers thought to be planning more attacks against Coptic Christians. There was, however, no official statement naming prime suspects in Sunday's bombings.

Copts, who make up about one tenth of Egypt's population of more than 92 million and who will celebrate Easter next weekend, have been targeted by several terrorist attacks in recent months.

In December, a suicide bombing claimed by IS killed 29 worshippers at a Cairo church.

In recent years, Egypt's security forces have been battling a militant insurgency in North Sinai, mostly led by an IS affiliate called Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, leaving hundreds of security forces killed. The group has also claimed responsibility for several attacks in other parts of the country, including the capital.

Security forces say they have killed hundreds of militants in recent years. Last March, the army said a prominent leader of Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis was killed in a raid in North Sinai.

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