Cell members accused of failed attack on church in Qalyubia Saturday referred to State Security Prosecution

The case involving members of an alleged terrorist cell reportedly involved in planning a failed attack on the church of the Virgin Mary in Qalyubia on Saturday was referred to State Security Prosecution on Monday for further investigation, after their identities were released by the Interior Ministry on Sunday evening.

The ministry announced the identity of the assailant, who attempted to carry out a suicide attack on the church, killing himself but inflicting no other casualties, as well as the identities of six others who were allegedly involved in planning the operation.

Security forces reportedly searched the Ain Shams residence of suicide bomber 29-year-old Omar Mohamed Ahmed Mostafa, where they found a Russian gun, along with 27 bullets, papers detailing the manufacture of explosives, LE71,300, a few gold artefacts and two bottles of chloroform for use in making explosives, the ministry reported.

On searching the apartments of the other members of the cell, the Interior Ministry detailed the finding of a number of automatic weapons, a large quantity of bullets and explosive materials and half a million Egyptian pounds.

Abdel Masih Basit, a priest of the church of the Virgin Mary, said to Mada Masr on Saturday that the incident occured on a bridge adjacent to a petroleum company, around 30 meters away from the church. There were no injuries to any of those attending the church to celebrate the birthday of the Virgin Mary, he added, as the assailant detonated his explosive belt before reaching the congregation.

According to the Interior Ministry statement, which was not released until Sunday night, those involved in the attempted attack were two residents of Cairo district Zawya al-Hamra contract-worker Mohamed Ahmed Abdel Momen Awad (known as Zizo al-Minawy), and his sister Noha Ahmed Abdel Momen Awad, mechanic Yehia Kamal Mohamed Dessouky, 43-year-old Egyptian Petroleum Services company employee Sabry Saad Mohamed Moussa, who reportedly lives in Qalyubiya, and 44-year-old Haytham Anwar (known as Nasr).

The statement also gave a detailed description of alleged cell member 44-year-old Zamalek resident Radwa Abdel Salim Sayed Omar, described as holding a Bachelor of Arts in literature, with an influential role in “promoting extremist ideas,” and providing financial support to members of terrorist groups commissioned from overseas.

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