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Two of the 26 victims of the recent bombing.
Two of the 26 victims of the recent bombing.
Photo: World Watch Monitor

A bomb ripped through a section reserved for women at Cairo's main cathedral during the Sunday morning worship service on December 11th, 2016, killing at least 26 people and wounding more than 50. The blast, which occurred in a chapel adjacent to the main church building, marked the deadliest attack against Egypt's Christian minority in years.

Egyptian security officials, quoted by state media, said that an explosive device containing about 26 pounds of TNT had been placed in the chapel. It went off during the service at around 10 a.m. Most of the dead and wounded were women and children, confirmed Sherief Wadee, an assistant minister for health, during a television interview. The country's president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, declared three days of mourning.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, although the attack bore the hallmark of Islamist militants who have previously targeted minority Christians over their perceived support for the president's government. (Since the compilation of this report, a suspect has been identified.) It was the second major attack in the Egyptian capital within three days, marking a jarring return to violence after months of relative calm. An Islamist militant group claimed responsibility for an explosion on December 9th at a security checkpost that killed six police officers. For previous reports on persecution in Egypt, note the "Persecution News" section at our Egypt Country Report.

Ask God to minister to the many wounded and grieving victims of these recent attacks. May those who have lost loved ones find great comfort in the fact that Christ is victorious over death (1 Corinthians 15:50-58). Pray that the injured will be healed by His miraculous intervention, also working through the skills and experience of the medical professionals caring for them. Additionally, intercede for the authorities as they continue their investigations, in hopes that the perpetrators of these atrocious crimes against humanity will be brought to justice and repentance. In the interim, pray for the protection and continued ministry of the church in Egypt so that many more will turn to Jesus, acknowledging Him as their Saviour and Lord.