Alexandria, January 4, 2010
A large number of worshippers gathered at the Sunday service in the church, outside of which the bomb exploded. Special police forces were at work to ensure the worshippers’ safety, according to reports by leading world news agencies.
According to information provided by the local police, the suicide bomber detonated a car bomb at the moment when people began to leave the church after the night service. As a result, 21 people died, and 79 were injured. The church building itself was also significantly damaged, as was mosque located in the vicinity.
Political leaders of many countries and various international organizations have sharply condemned the terrorist act. His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia expressed his sympathy to the head of the Coptic Church Pope Shenuda III regarding the tragedy. Pope Benedict XVI called upon all the Christians of Egypt not to despair or lose spirit.
European Union chief representative for foreign affairs and political safety Katrin Eshton sharply condemned the terrorist act. “There can be no justification for this monstrous crime,” she said in an announcement from Brussels. The document emphasizes that it is necessary to increase the protection of Coptic Christians and completely guarantee their right to confess the Christian religion.
Leader of a number of Arab states have also sharply condemned the attack. The Kings of Saudia Arabia Jordan and leaders of the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Qatar have made public announcements expressing their criticism of the act.
On January 2, hundreds of members of Christian communities demonstrated, demanding protection from the government from terrorists. The demonstrators clashed with the police, who used tear gas to disperse them.
So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing. Most suspect that Al Qaida, which had earlier threatened Egyptian Christians, is to blame.