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Egypt: Militant group in Gaza behind church attack

SHARE Egypt: Militant group in Gaza behind church attack
FILE -  An exploded car is seen in front of a Coptic Christian church as worshippers shout in the Egyptian city of Alexandria, Egypt, in this early Saturday Jan.1, 2011. An al-Qaida-linked group in Gaza was behind the New Year's suicide bombing that kille

FILE - An exploded car is seen in front of a Coptic Christian church as worshippers shout in the Egyptian city of Alexandria, Egypt, in this early Saturday Jan.1, 2011. An al-Qaida-linked group in Gaza was behind the New Year’s suicide bombing that killed 21 Christians and wounded about a hundred outside a church in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, the country’s interior minister announced Sunday Jan. 23, 2011.

Tarek Fawzy, File, Associated Press

CAIRO — An al-Qaida-linked group in Gaza was behind the New Year's Day suicide bombing that killed 21 Christians and wounded about a hundred outside a church in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, the country's interior minister announced Sunday.

Habib al-Adly said the shadowy, Gaza-based Army of Islam in Gaza was behind the attack, which sparked three days of Christian rioting in Cairo and several other cities. It was the deadliest attack against Christians in Egypt in more than a decade.

Security officials said an unspecified number of people have been detained in connection with the bombing but gave no more details. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to share the information with the media.

The Army of Islam is thought to have participated in the kidnappings of Israeli soldier Sgt. Gilad Schalit in 2006 and BBC journalist Alan Johnston, who was later released.

Late last year, Israel killed three members of the Army of Islam in separate airstrikes, alleging the men had planned to attack Israeli and American targets in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.