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Egypt State TV IDs Tanta Church Suicide Bomber


Soldiers guard a street near a church in downtown Cairo, Egypt, April 10, 2017, following Palm Sunday bombings in churches in Tanta and Alexandria that killed 45 Coptic Christians.

Egypt's interior ministry on Thursday identified the suicide bomber in the church bombing in the city of Tanta as Mamdouh Amin Mohamed Baghdadi, a resident of Qena, south of Cairo.

At least 45 people, as well as the bombers, were killed in attacks on a cathedral in Alexandria and the church in Tanta in the Nile Delta on Palm Sunday, April 9. So-called Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the attacks.

A ministry statement said Baghdadi was born in 1977 and was one of 19 suspected militants believed to belong to a cell behind a December suicide bombing of Cairo's main Coptic cathedral, another attack claimed by Islamic State.

The statement said the authorities had arrested 3 of the 19 suspected militants in the cell.

Egypt's government imposed a three-month state of emergency in the wake of the Palm Sunday attacks.

Religious minorities are increasingly targeted by Sunni Islamist militants, posing a challenge to President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, who has pledged to protect them as part of his campaign against extremism.

IS has waged a low-level war against soldiers and police in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula for years but it is increasingly targeting Christians and broadening its reach into Egypt's mainland.

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