New Years Eve Bombing of Coptic Church in Egypt Leaves 21 Dead
The injured toll stands a 79 in the possible suicide bombing
The attack came following repeated threats from al-Qaida militants in
Iraq that they intended to attack Egypt's Christians. According to the
Los Angeles Times, the Ministry of Information stated that an unnamed
official had stated that this may have been the work of a suicide bomber
carried out by foreign terrorists.
All but eight of the injured and all the fatalities were Christians from Saints Church, located on the eastern side of the coastal city.
The state-run newspaper Al Ahram reported that an eyewitness stated "It was about 15 minutes after midnight when we heard the sound of the explosion. We came out of the church to find two cars on fire."
Sami Saad, who was inside the church at the time of the explosion, went on to say, "Everyone was frightened and people were screaming after we saw scattered parts of the dead bodies mixing with blood to cover the ground."
The pastor of the church, Fr. Mena Adel told the Malta Times, "I was inside the church and heard a huge explosion. People's bodies were in flames."
The attack came following repeated threats from al-Qaida militants in Iraq that they intended to attack Egypt's Christians. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Ministry of Information stated that an unnamed official had stated that this may have been the work of a suicide bomber carried out by foreign terrorists.
An attack by al-Qaida in Egypt would prove awkward to President Hosni Mubarak had explicitly stated on many occasions that the terrorist network did not have a significant presence in the country.
The bombing brought about a strong reaction from Christians who already feel they are being discriminated against by the Muslim majority and ignored by the government. Angry Copts clashed with police, hurling rocks and storming a mosque across the street where they threw some books into the street. Muslims retaliated by throwing stones and bottles at the Copts.
On Saturday afternoon, crowds of Christians demonstrated in the streets outside the church and a neighboring hospital, hurling stones at riot police, who opened fire with rubber bullets and tear gas. According Al Ahram, an eyewitness told them that a priest from the church calmed the angry crowd and urged them to stay inside the church.
Pope Benedict denounced the violence against Christians during his New Year's Day homily on Saturday, saying, "Humanity ... cannot be allowed to become accustomed to discrimination, injustices and religious intolerance, which today strike Christians in a particular way."
In addressing Christians who live in areas where violence has erupted, the Pope stated, "Once again, I make a pressing appeal not to give in to discouragement and resignation."
President Mubarak condemned the attack according to a report from the official MENA news agency. He described this as a "criminal terrorist act" and also called on the Christians and Muslims "to close ranks and confront the forces of terrorism and those who want to undermine the security, stability and unity" of the country.
Islamic extremists who levied the threats, state that attacks will be carried out on behalf of two Egyptian Coptic women who reportedly converted to Islam in order to divorce their husbands. The women are allegedly being held by Coptic officials against their will. They state that attacks will continue until the women are released. The church has strenuously denied the accusation.
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2013
General Intention: Victimized Children. That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.
Missionary Intention: Prepare the Savior's Coming. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Africa News
- Obianuju Ekeocha on World AIDS Day - The Condom and the Killer Virus
- Hoping to boost trade, Kenya launches $13.8 billion China-built railway
- Goodbye Islam - Angola orders all mosques shut down in Islamic ban
- Protests in Angola erupt after deaths of anti-government activists
- Smartphones to bring a $300bn boost to Africa GDP
- Obianuju Ekeocha Calls out Melinda Gates for Turning up the Heat of Population Control in Africa
- Eyes on Malawi: Help Protect the Life and Dignity of African Women and Children!
- Two Americans feared kidnapped off Africa's west coast from Mystery Ship
- Gunmen took phone calls, stopped to pray during Nairobi mall attack
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?