CAIRO, EGYPT (BosNewsLife)– A bombing at Egypt’s main Coptic cathedral Sunday, December 11, killed at least 25 people and wounded another 35 in one of the deadliest attacks against the country’s troubled Christian minority in recent memory, officials said.Video footage showed extensive damage to a chapel adjacent to St Mark’s Cathedral, seat of Egypt’s Orthodox Christian church and home to the office of its spiritual leader, Pope Tawadros II.
The explosion, which shattered windows and broke roofing, rocked the complex around 10:00 am local time, witnesses said. The interior of the church was littered with broken and scattered furniture, along with blood and clothing on the floor, according to photo’s and video material showed. “I saw a headless woman being carried away…Everyone was in a state of shock,” a witness told reporters.
The attack came two days after a bomb elsewhere in Cairo killed six policemen, an assault claimed by a shadowy group that authorities say is linked to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, news reports said.
Islamic militants have targeted Christians in the past, including a New Year’s Day bombing at a church in Alexandria in 2011 that killed at least 21 people.
Soon after the blast a crowd was seen gathering outside the church chanting: “Tell the sheikh, tell the priest, Egyptians’ blood is not cheap.”
It came as another setback for Egyptian Christians, mainly known as Copts, who comprise roughly 10 percent of Egypt’s population of 90 million.
They faced persecution and discrimination during the 30-year rule of Hosni Mubarak, who was toppled by a popular uprising in 2011, according to rights groups. However after he was overthrown, attacks continued, adding to concerns over the future of Christians in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East.