The Egyptian Interior Ministry stated that seven alleged militants suspected of having a connection with the failed suicide bombing attack at the Church of the Virgin Mary in Mostorod, outside Cairo, have been arrested. The Ministry in another statement divulged the identity of the suicide bomber. It added that among the seven arrested, two women are included. It announced that the attacker is a 29-year old Omar Mostafa. The accused is a member of a terrorist cell and was planning to carry out numerous attacks in Cairo. However, he has been arrested.
Among the two women arrested, one woman who has been identified used to live in the upscale Cairo neighborhood of Zamalek. She played a crucial role in the whole attack planned by providing financial support and also by popularizing extremist ideas. However, no group claimed the responsibility for the alleged attack. The ministry announced that the attacker was wearing an explosive belt and tried to mix with the worshippers who assembled at the church for a service honoring the annual Fast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. The Ministry added that police officers found weapons, ammunition, cash, and also documents about developing explosives in the apartment of the attacker. Similarly, in the apartment of six other militants, explosives and ammunition were also found.
Security measures at the churches have been enhanced by Egypt police, in order to ensure that the Christian worshippers remain safe. The Christian worshippers are the soft target of terrorists. Over the last few years, Islamist militants carried out destructive bombings on Palm Sunday and at Cairo’s biggest Coptic cathedral. Last year, during a church shooting around 11 people were killed.
According to sources, the bomb attack was prevented because of a strong presence of security around the church. Hence, the attacker blew himself up 250 metres away from the church.