Egypt Church Blast Kills 21

Bomb hits New Year's church service
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 1, 2011 5:47 AM CST
A man observes the scene of the blast from within the Coptic Christian Saints Church in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, Egyp.   (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
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(Newser) – Egyptian authorities believe a suicide bomber was behind a blast that killed at least 21 people and injured dozens more at a church in Alexandria. The blast hit as Coptic Christians left a New Year's church service, Bloomberg reports. Angry Christians clashed with police and local Muslims after the explosion. A crowd attacked a nearby mosque, which had also been damaged in the blast.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak urged the country's Muslims and Christians to stand united against terrorism. Alexandria's governor blamed the blast, Egypt's deadliest terrorist attack since 2006, on al-Qaeda. Militants in Iraq, who claim the Coptic church is holding two converts to Islam against their will, have stepped up attacks on Iraq's Christians and threatened attacks in Egypt, where Christians make up around 10% of the population.

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