Friday, January 7, 2011

CNN Egypt's Christian Martyrs 2011

They went to worship God on New Years Eve and now they are with God forever.

At least 21 people were killed and 70 injured in the suspected suicide attack, which happened during a New Year's Eve service at the al-Qiddissin Church.

Several hundred Christians later clashed nearby with Muslims and police.

US President Barack Obama condemned "this barbaric and heinous act" and said those behind it had to be brought to justice.

"The perpetrators of this attack were clearly targeting Christian worshippers, and have no respect for human life and dignity," he said.

"We are continuing to gather information regarding this terrible event, and are prepared to offer any necessary assistance to the government of Egypt in responding to it," he added. This sinful act is part of a series of efforts to drive a wedge between Copts and Muslims"

About 1,000 worshippers were attending the Mass at the al-Qiddissin (Saints) Church in the Sidi Bechr district of the Mediterranean port city.

As the service drew to a close about half an hour after midnight, a bomb went off in the street outside.

"The last thing I heard was a powerful explosion and then my ears went deaf," 17-year-old Marco Boutros told the Associated Press from his hospital bed. "All I could see were body parts scattered all over."

Another witness told the private On-TV channel that he had seen two men park a car outside the church and get out just before the blast.

Officials initially thought the cause was a car bomb, but the interior ministry later ruled it out, saying the attack was instead "carried out by a suicide bomber who died among the crowd".

Yolande Knell Middle East specialist

This is the second consecutive Christmas that will be overshadowed by bloodshed for Egypt's Coptic community.

On 6 January 2010 - the Orthodox Christmas Eve - six worshippers and a Muslim police officer were killed in a drive-by shooting close to a church in the southern town of Naga Hamady. That was the country's worst sectarian attack in a decade. The latest bombing targeting Christians was unprecedented.

Clashes between Muslims and Christians have increased and become more geographically widespread in Egypt in recent years. A protester died in November as security forces fought with Copts demonstrating over a new church. Elsewhere, sectarian tensions have resulted from minor disputes between neighbours, conversions and divisive decisions by public servants and judges.

Egypt is also no stranger to attacks by Islamist extremists. The group, al-Tawhid wa al-Jihad, said it was behind several bombings at Red Sea holiday resorts between 2004 and 2006, which left a total of 130 people dead.

A nearby mosque was also damaged by the explosion and the casualties included eight injured Muslims, the health ministry said. Three policemen and an officer guarding the church were also among the wounded.

Hours after the attack, President Mubarak went on state television to express his shock and vow to track down those behind it.

"This act of terrorism shook the country's conscience, shocked our feelings and hurt the hearts of Muslim and Coptic Egyptians," he said.

"The blood of their martyrs in Alexandria mixed to tell us all that all Egypt is the target and that blind terrorism does not differentiate between a Copt and a Muslim.

"We are all in this together and will face up to terrorism and defeat it."

Mr Mubarak described the attack as a "terrorist operation which carries, within itself, the hallmark of foreign hands which want to turn Egypt into another scene of terrorism like elsewhere in the region and the wider world".

Egypt's top Muslim leaders also expressed their condolences and unity.

The Islamist opposition movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, said no religion in the world could condone such a crime. BBC NEWS


No comments:

Post a Comment

Facebook Comments

My Blog List