Christians under siege: Funeral for 24 worshippers slaughtered by Islamist suicide bomber as they prayed at Coptic chapel in Cairo
- A suicide bomber has been blamed for the bombing at a Coptic chapel in Cairo
- The chapel was next to the spiritual home of Egypt’s Coptic Christian Church
- Coptic Christians make up 10% of Egypt’s population but are often persecuted
- One analyst claimed Muslim Brotherhood had led a ‘witch-hunt’ against Copts
- President Sisi identified the bomber as Shafik Mahmoud Mohamed Mostafa, 22
- Three men and a woman have been arrested in connection with the attack
Egypt’s Coptic Christian community held a funeral service today for 24 Christians killed as they worshipped at a chapel next to the faith’s main cathedral in Cairo – one of the deadliest attacks against them by Islamists.
It emerged today that a suicide bomber had walked into the Sunday Mass at the Virgin Mary chapel adjacent to St Mark’s Cathedral, seat of the ancient Coptic Christian church.
Original reports had said a bomb had been lobbed over the wall, but Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said today a suicide bomber had been to blame.
Speaking at a state funeral for the victims, Sisi identified the suicide bomber as 22-year-old Shafik Mahmoud Mohamed Mostafa.
He also said three men and a woman had been arrested in connection with the attack.
It emerged today the worshippers died after Shafik Mahmoud Mohamed Mostafa, 22, (pictured), blew himself up during a Sunday Mass
Sisi called for tighter laws to help deter future attacks.
The coffins of the victims were laid in front of the altar today as the spiritual leader of Egypt’s nine million Coptic Christians, Pope Tawadros II, led the service.
No group has claimed responsibility but Julie Lenarz, executive director of the Human Security Centre, said Coptic Christians had been the subject to a ‘witch-hunt’ since the Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi was overthrown by the army.