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Egypt: Al-Qaida getting stronger

[ 2011-01-06 10:40]     字号 [] [] []  
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The remains of a recent church bombing here resemble devices used in blasts in 2009, according to security sources, and analysts say this hardened indications al-Qaida-inspired militants may be winning a toehold in the country.

The possible link reinforces the view that such militants may be winning recruits as the government sidelines moderate Islamist voices such as the Muslim Brotherhood, analysts said.

Egypt suspects an al-Qaida-driven suicide bomber was behind the blast at an Orthodox Coptic church in the city of Alexandria during a midnight service, which killed 23 people. Christians in Muslim-majority Egypt have protested at the lack of protection.

Security sources compared the device in the latest blast with two less deadly ones in 2009. One bomb targeted a church in Cairo but left no casualties. The other killed a French teenager in a popular Cairo tourist area, called el-Hussein or Khan el-Khalili. Neither was blamed on a suicide bomber.

"The bomb used in the Alexandria attack is similar to a large extent to the bombs that exploded in 2009 near a Cairo church and in al-Hussein. This indicates there may be a link between the bombers," a security source said.

Khalil Anani, a political analyst at Britain's Durham University, said some Islamists following more strict Sunni teachings, called Salafists, might be turning to militancy as more moderate voices in Egypt are isolated by the state.

"The rise of a Salafi trend in Egypt is the result of the government marginalizing moderate Islamic movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood and independent moderate Islamic voices," Anani said.

The Brotherhood, seen as Egypt's biggest opposition group, renounced violence decades ago as a means to bring change in Egypt. The group has warned that government pressure to squeeze it out of politics could push some toward more radical ideas.

Egyptian officials have said there were indications "foreign elements" orchestrated the church explosion and said the attack seemed to have been the work of a suicide bomber.

Cabinet spokesman Magdy Rady said the church bomb was "primitive and either hand-held by the bomber or ... wrapped in an explosive belt." He was quoting the interior minister. Officials initially said a car bomb might have been involved.

Findings showed materials recovered from the New Year's Day blast contained TNT explosive, as well as nuts, bolts and electric wiring, the security source said. The bombs used in the 2009 blasts contained similar components, he added.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Egypt: Al-Qaida getting stronger

About the broadcaster:

Egypt: Al-Qaida getting stronger

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.