Egypts arrests 4 over deadly church bombing

Egypt said Monday (December 12th) it had arrested four people suspected of involvement in a devastating bombing on a Cairo Coptic church, as grief-stricken mourners gathered for the funeral of the 24 dead, AFP reported.

The bombing at the Saint Peter and Saint Paul Church on Sunday was the deadliest attack in recent memory on the Christian minority, who make up about 10% of Egypt's population.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, speaking at the funeral, said the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber who had been identified as 22-year-old Mahmoud Shafik Mohamed Mostafa.

"He blew himself up inside the church" with an explosive belt, al-Sisi said.

One of the four people arrested was a woman, he said, and authorities were looking for two other suspects he did not identify.

The health ministry on Monday released a new death toll of 24 killed in the bombing, one more fatality than what was reported the previous day.

Most of the victims were women, authorities have said.

The attack occurred during Sunday service at the church adjacent to Saint Mark's Cathedral, the seat of Pope Tawadros II.

There has been no claim of responsibility for the bombing but Coptic Christians have been previously targeted in Egypt.

"This blow has caused us a lot of pain, but never will we let it break us," al-Sisi said.

Sunday's blast shattered windows and scattered pews through the interior of the church, scorching its marble pillars.

Security officials said they believed a bomb containing 12 kilos of TNT appeared to have been the cause of the explosion.

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