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Bomb Hits Coptic Christian Church In Cairo, Killing At Least 25

A nun reacts as Egyptian security forces work at the scene of an explosion at the Saint Peter and Saint Paul Coptic Orthodox Church in Cairo Sunday.

A bomb exploded during Sunday mass at a Cairo church Sunday, killing at least 25 people and wounding many more, including many women and children. The blast struck a chapel next to St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral.

Named for St. Peter and St. Paul, the church is commonly known as El-Botroseya.

It's the deadliest attack on Egypt's Christian minority in years, as NPR's Jane Arraf reports for our Newscast unit:

"No one has claimed responsibility yet for the attack. A bombing at a church in Alexandria, Egypt, on New Year's Day five years ago killed 21 people. Egypt's Orthodox Coptic Christians make up the biggest Christian community in the Middle East."

Egypt's president has declared three days of national mourning, and the country's prime minister canceled a celebration that had been planned to honor the birth of the Prophet Muhammad, reports Sala El-Balad.

Condolences for the victims have come from Pope Francis, Egypt's Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam, and other leaders; Parliament and other government bodies have also condemned the violence.

Egypt's Ahram Online brings us this view of the scene in Cairo after Sunday's violence:

"Hundreds of Muslim and Coptic protesters gathered at the cathedral, chanting against the attack on the church in a show of both anger and unity.

"A number of protesters attempted to remove the cordons around the cathedral, which led to minor skirmishes with security forces.

"Hospitals where the injured are being treated, including Dar El-Shefaa and Ain Shams University Hospital, have called for blood donations, while calls on social media for people to donate have gone viral."

According to Egypt's Middle East News Agency, the head of Egypt's Antiquities ministry says his agency will help renovate the damaged church.

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