This bears out Mubarak’s initial claim that foreign hands were responsible for the bombing, and enables him to continue to ignore the persecution of Christians in Egypt by native Islamic supremacists. “Egypt blames Palestinian group for New Years’ Day church bombing: Al-Qaida-linked Army of Islam said responsible for attack in Alexandria earlier this month that killed over 20 Coptic Christians,” from Reuters, January 23:
Egypt’s interior minister said on Sunday the government had proof that the Army of Islam, a Palestinian group linked to Al-Qaida, was behind the New Year’s Day bombing of a church that killed 23 people.
Officials had suspected an Al-Qaida -inspired bomber was behind the blast that ripped through a crowd outside the church in the city of Alexandria, prompting protests by Christians that the state had not done enough to protect them….
An Iraq-based Al-Qaida group had called for attacks on Egypt’s Christians, who make up one tenth of the population, before the church bombing….
President Hosni Mubarak, in an address broadcast on state TV, praised the police for finding out who was responsible for the bombing and said the attackers had “tried to sow discord between Copts and Muslims”.
The Army of Islam played a part in a cross-border attack in 2006 in the Gaza Strip in which Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was abducted. The group later cut relations with Hamas, the group which controls Gaza, and has clashed with Hamas.