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  • A Muslim woman cries while sitting in front of police officers in front of St. Mark

    A Muslim woman cries while sitting in front of police officers in front of St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral after an explosion inside the cathedral in Cairo, Egypt. | Photo: Reuters

Published 11 December 2016

The Coptic cathedral explosion has reportedly killed 25 people and injured dozens more.

A crowd gathered outside Cairo city’s biggest Coptic Christian cathedral Sunday morning chanting, "Tell the sheikh, tell the priest, Egyptians' blood is not cheap!" after a deadly bombing killed at least 25 people in the worst attack on the country's Christian minority in years.

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Mourners gathered at the site of a bomb explosion at St. Peter's Church, where an explosive device lodged adjacent to one of the cathedral's walls exploded that same morning, killing 25 people and injuring some 49 others.  

Cathedral worker Attiya Mahrous, who rushed to the chapel right after he heard the blast, said: "I found bodies, many of them women, lying on the pews. It was a horrible scene."

"Everyone was in a state of shock. There were children. What have they done to deserve this?" said another eyewitness, Mariam Shenouda. "I wish I had died with them instead of seeing these scenes."

The head of Al-Azhar, Egypt's top Sunni authority, condemned the bombing, calling it as "a great crime" against all Egyptians.

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Mohamad Elmasry, an associate professor of Media and Cultural Studies at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, agued that the "barbaric attack against Coptic Christians is not an aberration."

"[The attack] represents the continuation of a cycle of violence that has continued unabated since Egypt's July 2013 military coup," Elmasry told Al Jazeera. "Since the coup, the Egyptian government and ISIS-affiliated terrorists have traded attacks. The government has cast an unnecessarily wide terrorism net, carrying out unprecedented human rights violations, including several mass killings, against moderate members of the political opposition."

Sunday’s deadly attack is the second to hit Cairo in two days. Six policemen were killed Friday in a bomb explosion that was claimed to have been set off by a group suspected to have links to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

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