A deadly explosion rocks Cairo’s Coptic Cathedral complex during Sunday Mass on December 11. As a result at least 25 people have been killed while 49 other were injured. The blast occurred inside Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral at the Botrosiya Church. Eye witnesses reveal the explosion hit just when the congregants had finished collectively reading the Bible and the priest was about to start his sermon. The church under attack is 100-year-old, and is also known as the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul.
Details emerged that the explosion unfolded about 9:45 a.m., “everything turned black suddenly,” Qelliny Farag one of the congregant said. None of the terrorist out-fits ad claimed responsibility of the attack; however, authorities are suspicious of involvement of Islamic State’s Egypt branch. “Fourteen ambulances transferred the injured to Dar Al-Shefaa and Demerdash hospitals,” a statement issued by the Ministry of Health said.
Following the attack, Coptic Christians gathered at the site voicing their anger.The agitated Christians chanted slogans against the police and Egyptian government.“The people want the downfall of the regime!” they chanted. “Hey, interior ministry! Where were you when they bombed the cathedral?”
Qelliny Farag, 80-year-old, congregant reported that at the time when the bomb detonated, he was seated on the left side of the church. He said that Samiha Tawfik, his wife was on the right side of the church along with the other female congregants. “I could not see anything,” Farag said.
“We were all in shock, covered in dust, running through corpses that got thrown by the intensity of the blast.” He went on to explain that it was literally hard to breathe because of the dust, and he stumbled around the pews before he gathered his senses and analyzed what had happened. “A minute passed by and I started to see flesh scattered everywhere around us,” he said. “Even the ceiling had collapsed.”
“It was terrifying. Things were falling down on us. I couldn’t get down from behind the altar because of the smoke,” said a 63-year-old church volunteer Tadros Zaki. Romany, one of the volunteer rescue workers said, “There were too many people. Destroyed, in pieces… people on top of people.”
While expressing deep sorrow over the incident, Bishop Angaelos, the General Bishop for the Coptic Orthodox Church in Britain, stated that the Saint Peter’s church was especially popular with parishioners. It is “deeply loved by many Coptic faithful in Cairo and it has a regular parish presence”, he said while adding, ““The fact that they were targeted this way when they were going to pray is beyond comprehension.”