Sunday, December 11, 2016
A bombing at Egypt's main Coptic Christian cathedral killed 22 people and wounded another 35 on Sunday, according to Egyptian state television, in the second deadly attack to hit the Egyptian capital in two days. (Dec. 11) AP
(Photo: Khaled Desouki, AFP/Getty Images)
At least 25 people were killed and 49 injured in a blast near Cairo's main Coptic Christian Cathedral, according to reports from the Egyptian state-sponsored Middle East News Agency.
MENA reported that around 10 a.m. local time someone threw a bomb into a small chapel attached to St. Mark's Cathedral in the Abbassia district, Egypt's main Coptic church. The attack occurred just days after another bombing in Cairo that killed six police officers.
Photos and video showed shattered windows and deteriorated roofing in the aftermath. Most of the victims were women and children, according to the Associated Press.
Security officials said the blast was caused by bomb that was thrown or planted in the church. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi called the blast a “terrorist attack” and announced a three-day mourning period starting Sunday, according to Daily News Egypt, which cited a presidential statement. No one claimed responsibility.
The blast took place as a Sunday Mass being held in the chapel was about to end and coincided with a national holiday in Egypt marking the birth of Islam’s Prophet Mohammed, according to reports.
An AP reporter who saw the scene after the blast reported blood-stained pews and shards of glass scattered across the chapel's floor.
"I found bodies, many of them women, lying on the pews. It was a horrible scene," cathedral worker Attiya Mahrous told the news agency.
St. Mark’s Cathedral is the seat of Egypt’s Orthodox Christian church. Its spiritual leader, Pope Tawadros II, is based there, the Associated Press reported.
The last bomb attack, which occurred on a main road leading to the pyramids at Giza, was claimed by a militant group believed to be affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Egypt's Coptic Christians, who make up about 10% of the country's population, have complained about discrimination, the BBC reported.
In 2013, four Coptic Christians were killed in religious violence. Mourners went to St. Mark's cathedral, where many chanted slogans against Egypt's Islamist President, Mohammed Morsi. Violence erupted after the service between mourners and local residents, resulting in two deaths.
Contributing: Oren Dorell in McLean, Va.