A suicide bomber killed 24 Coptic Christians at the main Coptic cathedral on Sunday. That much we know. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has identified the bomer as a 22-year-old Muslim,. and el-Sisi’s government says he was affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. I discussed the attack a few minutes ago with host P.J. Maloney on KQV News Radio in Pittsburgh.
This raises some questions. First–the bomber blew up the women’s section of the chapel, and that fueled original reports that the bomber was a woman. Second, el-Sisi has another serious enemy, ISIS. It’s not at all clear that the Muslim Brotherhood was behind this. Egypt’s government has every reason to blame the Brotherhood, as it has been at war with the Brotherhood since el-Sisi ousted the Muslim Brotherhood president in 2013.
But the ISIS conflict has been more serious recently, and the prospect that ISIS is expanding its attacks from the remote Sinai Desert to the middle of Cairo is a threat to Egypt’s stability. Rl-Sisi has every reason not to point in that direction.
All we can do at this point is to keep an eye on developments in Egypt on the one hand, and on the Mideast in general, where Christians are under siege and suffering from persecution all over. It’s another aspect of the region-wide turmoil.