Egypt: Bomb blast kills at least 25 at Cairo Coptic church

Cairo (AFP) – A bomb blast tore through a church near Cairo’s Coptic cathedral during a service Sunday, killing at least 25 people in the deadliest attack in recent memory on Egypt’s Christian minority.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing but Coptic Christians, who make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s population, have been previously targeted in jihadist attacks.

At least 31 people were also wounded in the blast, the health ministry said, as the attack drew condemnation from political and religious leaders and led President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to declare three days of national mourning.

The bombing hit around 10:00 am at the Saint Peter and Saint Paul Church, which is adjacent to Saint Mark’s Cathedral, the seat of the Coptic pope Tawadros II.

A bomb made of 12 kilos of TNT appeared to have been behind the explosion, security officials said.

The blast shattered the church’s glass windows and scattered pews through the main prayer hall, scorching its marble pillars.