25 killed, 49 injured in cathedral blast in Egypt

Cairo, Dec 11 (IANS) At least 25 people were killed and 49 others injured on Sunday in an explosion at the Coptic Cathedral in Abbasiya’s neighbourhood of Cairo, officials said in a statement.

The security forces rushed to the scene and launched operations to search the assailants and other possible explosive devices, Xinhua news agency cited a statement by the Interior Ministry.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.

Security forces, medical teams and firefighters beefed up presence near the Cathedral Complex that contains a number of Churches as well as the residence place of the head of Egypt’s Orthodox Church — Coptic Pope Tawadros II.

Sources at the Cathedral Church said that an unknown person threw a bomb inside the al-Botrossiya Coptic Church which was packed due to Sunday mass.

In Egypt, bomb attacks are endemic in North Sinai Province due to the presence of Islamic State-affiliated Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis group that has carried out hundreds of anti-security attacks following the ouster of the Islamist President Mohamed Morsi.

On Friday, six policemen were killed when explosive devices exploded at a security checkpoint stationed on the road leading to the Pyramids near Cairo. A minor Islamist military faction claimed responsibility for the attack.