- Title: Egypt mourns victims of church bombing
- Date: 12th December 2016
- Summary: CAIRO, EGYPT (DECEMBER 12, 2016) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF CHURCH EXTERIOR AMBULANCE APPROACHING, CHURCH CHOIR RECITING HYMNS WOMEN CRYING COFFIN WRAPPED IN EGYPTIAN FLAG BEING TAKEN OUT OF AMBULANCE CHURCH CHOIR RECITING HYMNS COFFIN WRAPPED IN EGYPTIAN FLAG BEING CARRIED COFFIN BEING CARRIED BY CROWD MOURNERS PASSING THROUGH, HYMNS HEARD IN BACKGROUND 10, COFFIN WRAPPED IN EGYPTIAN FLAG BEING CARRIED VARIOUS OF COFFIN WRAPPED IN EGYPTIAN FLAG BEING CARRIED BY CROWDS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) COPTIC CHRISTIAN MOURNER, FADY HOSSAM, SAYING: "This is something that we have now become used to, every year we have to pay a tax to the state with our blood, we donate that blood to the state so that it would continue its oppression and injustice against us. That's all. As Copts, we're known for love and forgiveness - and that's why we always pay this price." MOURNERS GATHERED OUTSIDE OF BURIAL CHAMBER COFFIN BEING TAKEN DOWN BURIAL CHAMBER MOURNERS WAILING CROWDS CARRYING COFFIN WRAPPED IN EGYPTIAN FLAG MOURNERS CRYING (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) COPTIC PRIEST, FATHER MOUSSA RIZK, SAYING: "Firstly, we'd like to offer our Muslim brothers our best wishes [because Sunday was the prophet's birthday]. And of course what happened has nothing to do with the Muslim faith. Terrorism has no religion. And lastly, we would like to say, that, as a church, we're used to this, this is our philosophy of happiness, for us, that martyrdom is the path to heaven." MOURNERS WALKING, HYMNS HEARD IN BACKGROUND VARIOUS WOMEN MOURNING
- Embargoed: 27th December 2016 17:34
- Keywords: Egypt church violence bomb mourning funeral Christian Coptic burial security
- Location: CAIRO, EGYPT
- City: CAIRO, EGYPT
- Country: Egypt
- Reuters ID: LVA0015CKY5HJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Mourners packed an Egyptian church on Monday (December 12) for the funeral of 24 people killed in a bomb attack at Cairo's Coptic cathedral and angry survivors said police had failed to protect the Christian minority.
Tearful relatives gathered at the Virgin Mary and St Athanasius Church in Cairo where Coptic Pope Tawadros II prayed over the wooden coffins of victims of Sunday's bombing, one of the deadliest to target Christians in recent memory.
On the walls hung banners bearing the names of the dead, many of them women and children.
Speaking after the funeral service, during which he shed tears, Pope Tawadros called the dead martyrs and sought to heal any sectarian friction caused by the attack, saying it "is not just a disaster for the church but a disaster for the whole nation." He also condemned attacks against the security forces.
Along with those killed, 49 were wounded when a bomb exploded in a chapel adjoining St Mark's Cathedral, Cairo's largest church and seat of the Coptic papacy, where security is normally tight.
A suicide bomber, armed with explosives containing at least 12 kg (26 pounds) of TNT, detonated his device on a side of the church used by women.
Five survivors at Dar al-Shefa hospital said police did not conduct the usual checks as the cathedral was particularly busy for Sunday's mass, which took place on a public holiday marking the Prophet Mohammad's birthday, just weeks before Christmas.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi speaking at a state funeral for the victims, said four people had been detained, including a woman, and security forces were seeking two more people believed to be involved.
Orthodox Copts, who comprise about 10 percent of Egypt's 90 million people, are the Middle East's largest Christian community. They face regular attack by Muslim neighbours, who burn their homes and churches in poor rural areas, usually in anger over an inter-faith romance or church construction.
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