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Eyewitnesses Claim Egyptian Security Allowed Bomb Attack on Christians

A new report from the Assyrian International News Agency sheds some disturbing light on the moments immediately following the New Year's Eve attack on Saints Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt that killed 21 and injured 96 parishioners who were attending mass inside.

Church officials and eyewitnesses say many more victims have yet to be identified after their "body parts were strewn all over the street outside the church." More disturbing, however, are reports that these body parts that had been covered up with newspapers had to be "brought inside the church after some Muslims started stepping on them and chanting Jihadi chants."

Additionally, eyewitnesses claim that a green Skoda car pulled up outside the church shortly after midnight. Two men stepped out of the vehicle as it was parked in a cordoned off area, one of them talking on his mobile phone. According to AINA, eyewitnesses say the explosion occurred "almost immediately after they left the scene." On the back of the car was a sticker with the words "the rest is coming."

Eyewitnesses also claim that state security forces guarding the church left the scene nearly one hour before the blast. "Normally they would have waited until the mass was over," said Hany el-Gezeiry, head of Copts4Egypt. It's unclear why any security forces would have left the scene as worshipers continued their service, especially after al-Qaida had previously threatened attacks on the Copts.

After the blast erupted, Copts who survived the blast were angered by Muslims in the immediate vicinity chanting, "Allah Akbar." In retaliation, AINA reports that the Christians began throwing stones at them until police began shooting tear gas.

"Is this a victory?" el-Gezeiry asks. "Whoever saw this fire and people dying and body parts all over the place and could still chant 'Allah Akbar' is a terrorist."

"Security should know that those who demonstrated are the hand of Al-Qaida in Egypt," he said. "They want to destroy Egypt from inside and the government kept quiet, giving them a free hand to do what they wanted. I believe Al-Qaida achieved what it wanted."

Attorney Mamdouh Nakhla, Head of Al-Kalema Human Rights Center, wondered if state security is an accomplice or just too cowardly to confront the Islamists in Egypt who carried out the Church massacre. "The crime is local and those who committed it are known, in addition there was a demonstration on the same day using the same rhetoric like al-Qaida. The Al Mujahedeen website threatens to repeat the attack in more churches. The site has addresses of churches and even how to make a bomb. Does security not know about it?"

"Anyone who says that it was a foreign or Israeli plot is trying to play down the crime and is trying to clear those murderers of this massacre, and I consider them their accomplices," said Nakhla.

Nakhla said that he was preparing a complaint to be presented to President Mubarak asking for the resignation of Interior Minister Habib el Adly for failing in his duty of protecting the Copts, and for not telling the truth by saying that it was a suicide attack by one individual, when everyone could see the detonated car, just to clear his security personnel of the responsibility of letting the Skoda park in front of the church. "This 100KG bomb could not have been transported by one individual as the Interior Minister wants us to believe."

Meanwhile, Islamic extremists are blaming the attack on Jews. Iran's official television outlet, Press TV, declared Sunday that Israeli Zionists were actually behind the bomb plot.

"It goes without saying that no Muslim, whatever their political leanings may be, will ever commit such an inhuman act," the station said. In addition, Press TV reported that "the fresh plot by terrorists to target churches is an organized Zionist scenario aimed at creating a rift between Muslims and Christians."

Likewise, Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Mohamed Morsy claimed the attacks were an attempt to undermine Egyptian unity. "In whose benefit and major interest is it to destabilize Egypt's stability and safety?" he asked.

The Press TV report painted an idyllic picture of Christian life in Egypt, but a doctor who treated the wounded from last weekend's suicide bombing disagreed. Many Copts, frustrated by a lack of government action to protect them, are thinking of leaving the country, Dalia Nabil told the BBC. "A lot of us think that this is a plan to make Christians go away from Egypt. The planner is al-Qaida," Nabil said.

One last thing…
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