Interior Ministry: Egyptian involved in planning Alex church blast

An Egyptian national from Alexandria is being held on suspicion of involvement in the Alexandria church bombing which left 24 dead and injured scores, the Interior Ministry has announced.

A security source said on Sunday that the Al-Qaeda-connected Palestinian "Army of Islam" recruited the Egyptian suspect to help plan the bombing.

The source added that the suspect, Ahmed Lotfi Ibrahim Mohamed, was born in Alexandria in 1984 and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Upon arrest, Mohamed admitted he traveled to Gaza in 2008 and contacted Army of Islam members who convinced him that targeting Jewish and Christians places of worship forms part of  jihad, the security source said.

He remained in touch with the militant group's members via the internet, and in 2010 was assigned to monitor Christian and Jewish places of worship to be targeted in potential attacks.

In October, according to the source, Mohamed informed the group of the possiblity of attacking either the Qiddisine or Maximous churches in Sidi Bishr, in addition to the Jewish temple in the Mansheya area, and sent the group members photos of Qiddisine church.

Mohamed said he was also commissioned to provide the perpetrators of the attack with accommodation and a car to be loaded with the explosives for the bombing, but instead suggested the crime should be carried out by a suicide-bomber. He then left the country to have surgery on his ears, the source said.

Army of Islam members told Mohamed in December last year that some of its members were assigned to carry out the crime and he received congratulations from the Army of Islam leader for his role in the planning, according to the source.

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