Saturday, January 1, 2011

Bombing in Egypt is latest assault on Christians in Middle East

Copts are Egypt's largest
religious minority group and the
largest Christian community
in the Middle East.
Twenty-one people are dead following a New Year’s Day terrorist bombing at a Coptic church in Egypt, reports the Assyrian International News Agency. The attack is the latest in a series of assaults on Middle Eastern Christian communities.

The car bomb explosion also injured 79 people just after midnight Saturday, as worshipers were leaving Mass at the Saints Church in east Alexandria, Egyptian officials said. The bombing sparked street clashes between police and angry Copts, who hurled stones, stormed a nearby mosque and threw some of its books into the street.

The attack was among the deadliest on Egyptian Christians in recent memory and the worst terrorist incident in the country since 2006.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak accused unnamed foreign elements of being behind the attack.

"This act of terrorism shook the country's conscience, shocked our feelings and hurt the hearts of Muslim and Coptic Egyptians," he said in an emergency address to the nation. "The blood of their martyrs in the land of Alexandria mixed to tell us all that all Egypt is the target and that blind terrorism does not differentiate between a Copt and a Muslim."

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which is being described as a suicide bombing.

You can read the full report here.

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