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Al-Qaeda Websites May Have Spurred Suicide Bombing of Egyptian Coptic Church

coptic church bombing
On New Year's Day, a suicide bombing killed 21 people at a Coptic church in Alexandria, Egypt. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was quick to accuse foreign groups of orchestrating the attack, while domestic investigators turned their attention to extremist groups within the country. Now, new evidence has emerged to suggest that Al-Qaeda may have at least lain out the groundwork for the plot via the Web.

In the weeks leading up to the attack, websites affiliated with Al-Qaeda had published detailed guides on how to go about "destroying the cross," along with instructional bomb-making videos and maps of targeted churches (including the Coptic church attacked last week). One site posted the so-called 'Jihadi Encyclopedia for the Destruction of the Cross,' along with a series of ten videos, featuring a masked militant mixing ingredients for TNT. The site features a list of Coptic churches in Egypt, with their addresses and phone numbers.

Officials are currently investigating a domestic group of extremists, known as the Salafis, and acknowledge that they may have been inspired by Al-Qaeda to carry out the attack. Authorities also told the AP that they had been aware of the online how-to guides before the attack, and are looking into any possible connections to last week's tragedy.

Tags: alexandria, AlQaeda, bomb, christian, church, Coptic, copts, egypt, guide, politics, SuicideBombers, terrorism, top, Web