CAIRO – An explosion went off in front of a Coptic Christian church as worshippers emerged from a New Year's Mass in the Egyptian city of Alexandria early Saturday, killing at least seven people, officials said.
After the blast, enraged Christians emerging from the church clashed with police and stormed a nearby mosque, prompting fights and volleys of stone throwing with Muslims, police and witnesses said — a sign of the sectarian anger that has been arising with greater frequency in Egypt.
Nearly 1,000 Christians were attending the Mass at the Saints Church in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, said a priest at the church, Father Mena Adel. The service had just ended, and worshippers were leaving the building when the blast went off, about a half-hour after midnight.
The blast came from a car parked outside the church, but police said they were still investigating whether the car had been rigged with explosives or if a bomb had been placed under it. Witnesses reported seeing the charred chassis of the destroyed car, with the remains of several bodies nearby and dozens wounded.
The Interior Ministry said in a statement that seven people were killed and 24 wounded.