Bomb blast kills 27 in coptic Church in Egypt
About 27 people were killed and over 30 injured on Sunday in a bomb attack at St Mark’s Cathedral, the seat of Egypt’s Orthodox Christian church and home to the office of its spiritual leader, Pope Tawadros II.
The blast which occurred during a mass was suspected to have been carried out by the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
“God bless the person who did this blessed act,” wrote one supporter of the militant group on Telegram.
The Egyptian state TV said 22 people were killed, while 35 others were injured when a bomb was thrown into a chapel’s outer wall during prayers. when a large number of people had gathered.
Mariam Shenouda said, ” There were children. What have they done to deserve this? I wish I had died with them instead of seeing these scenes.”
An Associated Press reporter who arrived at the scene shortly after the blast saw blood-stained pews and shards of glass scattered across the chapel’s floor. Men and women wailed and cried outside. “I found bodies, many of them women, lying on the pews. It was a horrible scene,” said cathedral worker Attiya Mahrous, who rushed to the chapel after he heard the blast. His clothes and hands were stained with blood and his hair matted with dust.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi condemned what he described as “the abhorrent terrorist attack”, saying in a statement: “Egypt will only emerge stronger and more unified from these events.” Also the Muslim Council of Elders condemned what it describes as a heinous terrorist attack.’’These criminal acts committed by the black terrorist group are also actions against tolerant Islam and other heavenly religions which call for respect, protection and conservation of houses of worship,” said the Council in a statement.
The Council also expressed its solidarity with the church in the fight against terrorism and violence. ”The Council stands besides the Egyptian State and its institutions in their efforts to confront and eradicate these violent terrorist groups,” said Dr. Ali Al Nuaimi, Secretary-General of the Council.
The bomb attack coincides with a national holiday in Egypt marking the birth of the Prophet Muhammad.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Sunday’s attack. Jihadists in Sinai often target Christians. Copts, who make up about 10 per cent of Egypt’s population of 90 million, have faced persecution and discrimination that increased during the 30-year rule of Hosni Mubarak, who was toppled by a popular uprising in 2011.
Egypt has seen a wave of attacks by Islamic militants since the military overthrew President Mohammed Morsi, a freely elected leader who hailed from the Brotherhood, in 2013. Many of Morsi’s supporters blamed the overthrow on Christians, and scores of churches and other Christian-owned properties in southern Egypt were ransacked that year.