Police investigators: suicide bomber responsible for Alexandria church attack

Ayman Farouk, Wednesday 5 Jan 2011

Police investigators revealed details of the Two Saints Church bombing, saying the explosives were made locally but involved the largest payload since the Sharm El-Sheikh terrorist attacks


Egypt's Prosecutor General is in Alexandria today to oversee the ongoing investigation into the New Year's Eve attack on Two Saints Church. The crime investigation team which has been sifting through forensic and other evidence since the bombing has finished its preliminary report, according to which, the perpetrator walked into the church carrying a backpack loaded with explosives, and wrapped also in an explosive belt, which police say is designed to ensure that his remains would not be identifiable later.  

A police source described the suicide bomber was "a human weapon" manipulated by terrorist cells. The police theory, accoring to the same source, is that the suicide bomber is likely to have put the explosive charge together himself, possibly using manuals available on the internet. The police also believe that Two Saints Church was chosen, because it was the site of another attack two years ago, revealing that leaflets inciting sectarian hatred had been distributed in the church's environs during the days preceding the attack.

The police official also pointed an accusing finger at Salafi groups who, he said, are working to drive the country into a state of sectarian strife, and who are now attempting to block security forces from arresting the terrorists. 

Meanwhile, security officials have screened the names of all foreigners who have recently arrived in Egypt, and have interrogated several persons of interest, in an attempt to gather information that will lead to the identity of the parties behind the attack.

However, investigators have dismissed, for the timebeing, the possiblity of an Afghani or Pakistani connection.

Police say they have now identified the type and amount of explosives used in the attack, and desribe it as the biggest explosive payload since the Sharm El-Sheikh terrorist attacks.

Forensic tests revealed shrapnel from a vehicle in the bodies of the injured, leading back to suspicions that a car bomb was detonated rather than a sucide bomber.

The investigation is ongoing, police say, admitting that there are still a number of unanswered questions regarding the nature and possible sources of the bombing.  Meanwhile, they continue to collect eyewitness statements and evidence from the crime scene.


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