Alexandria (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A car bomb exploded last night outside a Coptic church in Alexandria, Egypt, just before Mass ended. The death toll from the bloody attack is, for now, 21 dead and 43 wounded. An eyewitness sport to reprters of a real "blood bath", with dozens of mangled bodies lying on the ground. The explosion was followed by clashes with between Christians and Muslims in the streets adjacent to the church.
A local priest has said the toll could have been much worse if the car had exploded just a few minutes later. After the attack witnesses say that many of the faithful gathered outside the charred remains of the car singing "We offer our lives and our blood through the Cross." The attack of last night brings to mind the October 31 massacre in Baghdad, in the Syrian Catholic cathedral, and the Al Qaeda threat against Christians in Egypt.
The mayor of Alexandria, gen. Adel Labib, told Egyptian TV that there have been threats of attacks on churches recently. The Egyptian Interior Ministry has imposed strict security measures around all the churches. "The Islamic effort to cleanse the Middle East by Christians has increased," writes a Coptic website. In a statement published by the Egyptian press, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has appealed to Egyptians, "Copts and Muslims, to maintain their unity in the face of the terrorist forces that undermine the stability of the homeland and its unity."