Bomb attack on church in Egypt leaves 17 dead

Following a New Year’s Eve service at a Coptic Church in Alexandria Egypt an bomb (apparently a car bomb) exploded outside the church. Latest reports list 21 people as killed in the attack.

“At least 43 people were wounded in the attack. It happened as worshippers were leaving a new year’s service at the al-Qidiseen church shortly after midnight.

Coptic Christians and Muslims clashed after the attack, but police moved in and used tear gas to restore order.

President Hosni Mubarak urged Egyptians to unite against ‘terrorism’.

In a televised statement he blamed ‘foreign hands’ for the bombing. ‘Wicked terrorists targeted the nation, Copts and Muslims,’ he said.”

More BBC coverage here.

The Guardian has coverage here.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has released this statement condemning the bombing:

“The new year’s eve attack on Christians in Alexandria is yet another dreadful reminder of the pressure of Christian minorities are under in the Middle East, echoing the atrocities we have seen in recent weeks. The Coptic community and other Christian groups in Egypt can be sure of our deep sorrow at this terrible event and our continuing prayers and support for them. We know the long and honourable history of co-existence of Christians and Muslims in Egypt and are confident that the overwhelming majority of Egyptian people will join in condemning this and similar acts.”

Pope Benedict, who has been raising the issue of violence against Christians in the Middle East for months now, has called for an Interfaith Peace summit in Assisi later this year.

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