Egypt blames Gaza group for bombing
Interior minister says Army of Islam group planned and executed New Year’s Eve attack on Coptic church in Alexandria.
Christians clashed with security forces after the New Year’s Eve church bombing [Reuters]
Egypt’s government has blamed a Gaza-based group for a New Year’s Eve church bombing that killed 24 Coptic Christians in Alexandria.
Interior minister Habib al-Adly said on Sunday that “conclusive evidence” proved the Army of Islam planned and executed the attack on al-Kidiseen Church, which also left scores wounded.
The group quickly denied responsibility, while also reportedly expressing support for the bombing.
The attack was the worst act of sectarian violence in Egypt since a Muslim-Christian business dispute in 2000 led to anti-Christian riots in the southern town of el-Kosheh and left 21 Copts dead.
The bombing also sparked days of Coptic rioting and weeks of co-religious demonstrations in support of Christians and against a government many blame for failing to protect its Coptic minority, which many estimate makes up around 10 per cent of the population.
Adly, who made the accusation during a speech marking Egypt’s Police Day that was also attended by president Hosni Mubarak, also claimed that the group had recruited Egyptians to help plan and carry out the attack.
Mubarak has said since the day after the attack that foreign forces were responsible.
The Army of Islam, based in the Gaza Strip, is an umbrella name for a number of groups that have splintered in recent years. The groups are reported to hold to a strict, Salafi interpretation of Islam.
Mumtaz Doghmosh, the leader of the group’s main faction, told Al Jazeera that the Army of Islam had no connection with the attack, according to spokesman Abu Mousab.
But the Reuters news agency also quoted a spokesman for the group who said “we praise those who did it”.
Hamas expresses concern
The Army of Islam does not believe in reconciliation or a truce with Israel, unlike the Palestinian political movement Hamas, which has held de facto rule over Gaza since winning Palestinian elections but clashing with rival faction Fatah in 2007.
In a statement on Sunday, Hamas expressed concern with the accusations against the Army of Islam and called on Egypt to share its information regarding the attack.
“Hamas is leading a resistance against the Zionist occupation inside Palestine and will never allow it to move outside Palestine,” the statement read.
“Egyptian and Arab security is one of our top priorities. We consider the Arab nations our strategic depth and we would not accept anyone to touch their security.
“We call on Egypt to co-operate with the Palestinian government and check their information.”Source: Al Jazeera and agencies
New Yorkers pray for Gaza victims
For the first time ever, the largest church in New York had a special prayer for the people of Palestine.
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral is a historical landmark, drawing tourists from all over the world. Today it was for the Gazans killed and wounded during the Israeli war on the strip two years ago.
Pastor Khader El-Yateem is a Palestinian-American from Bethlehem and is urging everyone to pray for the people of Gaza and the rest of Palestine
With large numbers of Christians leaving the Middle East, the Clergy today had another message for the ones that are left: stay put and be Patient.
The prayer service had a somber feel to it as worshipers prayed for peace and justice for Palestinians of all faiths.
The Gaza strip remains besieged with little food and medical supplies allowed in, and almost no access to the outside world.
Bethlehem is the city Jesus was born in, but remains under Israeli occupation and divided from Jerusalem by an apartheid wall.
*The event took place on Jan 11th, 2011.
HANNA CINTHIO a.k.a HANOUNEH - Real Gaza me seh!
Ladies & Gents, I introduce to you yet another talent that deserves your attention! Hanouneh works with a musical blend of the West & The Middle East. She started out as a jazz vocalist performing in Sweden & Denmark, but gradually moved to reggae & hip hop fusing her musical ambitions with her political struggle. She has spent part of her life in Palestine but is currently based in Sweden.
She is a part of Beirut collective “961 Underground”. She is also collaborated with a lot of Arabic hip hop artists and international artists.
Hanouneh is passionate about the music she does and the message she is after. She does things uniquely and you will really realize that once you listen to her tracks. She is also passionate about Palestine, you can check out her song Gaza feat Suhell Nafar from DAM (A Palestinian Hip Hop Group).
You can check out some of Hanouneh’s songs here: