Death toll of church bombing rises to 26 - health ministry

Friday 16-12-2016 05:22 PM

Crowds gather outside Coptic Orthodox cathedral after explosion (Aswat Masriya/ Mohamed El-Raei)

CAIRO, Dec 16 (Aswat Masriya) - Death toll of the St. Peter and St. Paul church bombing increased to 26 after the death of a 70-year old woman who sustained serious injuries caused by the explosion,  the Ministry of Health said on Friday. 

The blast, which coincided with the Muslim celebration of the Prophet’s Birthday, took place at the church attached to one of Egypt’s most symbolic sites for Copts, St. Mark’s Coptic Cathedral.

Dozens of worshippers were injured in the explosion, many of whom are women and children attending Sunday mass.  According to the latest statement by the health ministry, the number of those injured is 46.

One day after the explosion, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi identified the suicide bomber as 22-year old Mahmoud Shafiq Mohamed Mostafa.

The interior ministry announced later that people in connection with the Muslim Brotherhood group schemed the attack on the church. 

The ministry said then that it arrested four people including a woman, all of whom assisted the suicide bomber.

On Tuesday, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Supreme State Security Prosecution ordered on Wednesday the four detainees to be held in custody for 15 days pending investigation in the case. The prosecution ordered the arrest of two fugitives over the case.

The defendants are accused of joining a terrorist group, possessing explosives, inciting premeditated murder, participating in bombing the church and assisting a suicide bomber to carry out the attack.

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