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Al-Qaeda-inspired militants blamed for Egyptian church attack

Local militants inspired by al-Qaeda have been blamed for a New Year’s Day attack on an Egyptian church which killed 21 people

ICC Note:

Although there was no claim of responsibility for the bombing of congregates outside a church in Alexandria, Egyptian analysts said that the attack resembles “the features of al-Qaeda,” the Telegraph reports.

By Richard Spencer

1/2/2011 Egypt (Telegraph) – As newspapers warned of “civil war” between the country’s Muslims and its Coptic Christian minority, officials said a number of arrests had been made.

They said they were investigating a group of radical Salafi Sunni Muslims based in Alexandria, which was not under “foreign command” but may have been inspired by the international terrorist group.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq, the offshoot that has been fighting an often sectarian war in that country, had issued public statements criticising the Coptic Church.

One, two weeks ago, called for local people to attack Coptic targets.

Although there was no immediate claim of responsibility, Egyptian analysts said that al-Qaeda, which has had little impact locally in the past, appeared to be “announcing its presence”.

“This has the features of al-Qaeda,” said Diaa Rashwan, an analyst with the Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies. “It resembles what we see outside Egypt.

“This was professional, and they probably have more explosives. I fear that they have another attack planned, or they could be pushed into acting by the security response.”

Coptic Christians have long complained that the government does not defend them in frequent feuds with local Muslims across the country, but the bombing was on a much larger scale than anything which has preceded it.

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