Posted on

Church bombed at New Year’s mass


rhondathompson, [email protected]

Church bombed at New Year’s mass

Social Share

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt — A powerful bomb, possibly from a suicide attacker, exploded in front of a Coptic Christian church as a crowd of worshippers emerged from a New Year’s Mass early today, killing at least 21 people and wounding nearly 80 in an attack that raised suspicions of an al-Qaida role.

The attack came in the wake of threats by al-Qaida militants in Iraq to attack Egypt’s Christians. A direct al-Qaida hand in the bombing would be a dramatic development, as the government of President Hosni Mubarak has long denied that the terror network has a significant presence in the country. Al-Qaida in Iraq has already been waging a campaign of violence against Christians in that country.
The bombing enraged Christians, who often complain of discrimination at the hands of Egypt’s Muslim majority and accuse the government of covering up attacks on their community. In heavy clashes this afternoon, crowds of Christian youths in the streets outside the church and a neighboring hospital hurled stones at riot police, who opened fire with rubber bullets and tear gas.
Egypt has seen growing tensions between its Muslim majority and Christian minority — and the attack raised a dangerous new worry, that al-Qaida or militants sympathetic to it could be aiming to stoke sectarian anger or exploit it to gain a foothold.
Nearly 1 000 Christians were attending the New Year’s Mass at the Saints Church in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, said Father Mena Adel, a priest at the church. The service had just ended, and some worshippers were leaving the building when the bomb went off about a half hour after midnight, he said. (AP)

LAST NEWS