Bomb thown into Coptic cathedral kills 25, mostly women and children

by WorldTribune Staff, December 11, 2016

At least 25 people, mostly women and children, were killed on Dec. 11 in a terrorist bombing near Egypt’s main Coptic Christian cathedral in Cairo.

Another 49 people were wounded in the blast, which took place as Sunday Mass was being held in a chapel adjacent to St. Mark’s Coptic Cathedral. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but some supporters of Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) celebrated the attack on social media.

The bombing was carried out during Sunday Mass at a chapel adjacent to St. Mark's Cathedral. /AP
The bombing was carried out during Sunday Mass at a chapel adjacent to St. Mark’s Cathedral. /AP

“Vicious terrorism is being waged against the country’s Copts and Muslims,” Egyptian President Abdul Fatah Sisi said. “Egypt will emerge stronger and more united from this situation. The pain felt by Egyptians now will not go to waste, but will result in an uncompromising decisiveness to hunt down and bring to trial whoever helped through inciting, facilitating, participating or executing this heinous crime.”

Egypt’s official MENA news agency said an assailant lobbed a bomb into the chapel close to the outer wall of St Mark’s, the seat of Egypt’s Orthodox Christian church and home to the office of its spiritual leader, Pope Tawadros II, who is currently visiting Greece.

“I found bodies, many of them women, lying on the pews. It was a horrible scene,” said cathedral worker Attiya Mahrous.

“I saw a headless woman being carried away,” Mariam Shenouda said. “Everyone was in a state of shock. We were scooping up people’s flesh off the floor.”

“There were children. What have they done to deserve this? I wish I had died with them instead of seeing these scenes,” she added.

The Dec. 11 attack came two days after a bomb elsewhere in Cairo killed six policemen, an assault claimed by a terror group that authorities say is linked to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

Egypt has seen a wave of attacks by Islamic terrorists since the military overthrew President Mohammed Morsi in 2013.

Many of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood supporters blamed Christians for supporting the overthrow, and scores of churches and other Christian-owned properties in southern Egypt were ransacked after Morsi’s ouster.