Bomb explodes in Cairo’s Coptic cathedral

A nun reacts as Egyptian security forces (unseen) inspect the scene of a bomb explosion at the Saint Peter and Saint Paul Coptic Orthodox Church on December 11, 2016, in Cairo's Abbasiya neighbourhood. (AFP)

A bomb exploded near Cairo's Coptic cathedral on Sunday killing 25 people and wounding another 35 on Sunday, according to Egyptian state television.

The blast took place as a Sunday mass being held in the chapel was about to end and coincided with a national holiday in Egypt marking the birth of Islam's Prophet Muhammad. Most of the victims are thought to be women and children.

A device containing about 12 kg of the explosive TNT had denoted on the women's side of the cathedral, the security sources said.

“Today's terrorist attack is a direct attempt to derail Egypt's economy in need of foreign investments and to also deter tourists from visiting the country. This unfortunate event comes at the heel of another deadly attack this week in Haram against police officers,” Adel El-Adawy, PhD candidate at the Department of War Studies, King's College London told Al Arabiya English.

“After the bombings that happened today, Egyptians are standing together,” Farrah El Essawi, graduate from the American University in Cairo told Al Arabiya English. “It seems that after moments like this there occurs a sense of unity between Egyptians to combat this third party that is attempting to spread fear amongst us.”

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, however, some supporters of ISIS celebrated the attack on social media.

“God is great, God is great, God is great,” one wrote on Telegram messenger.

“God bless the person who did this blessed act,” wrote another, also on Telegram.

“As soon as the priest called us to prepare for prayer, the explosion happened,” Emad Shoukry, who was inside the cathedral when the blast took place, told Reuters.

“The explosion shook the place... The dust covered the hall and I was looking for the door, although I couldn't see anything... I managed to leave in the middle of screams and there were a lot of people thrown on the ground,” he said.

(With Reuters)

Last Update: 13:11 KSA 16:11 - GMT 13:11