An improvised explosive device (IED) with 12kg of TNT caused the explosion in the Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Abbasiya, according to a security official’s statement to state media. The death toll stands at 25 with 49 injured, according to state TV.
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi condemned the “terrorist attack” and announced a three-day mourning period starting Sunday, according to a presidential statement.
Women and children were among the victims. Sources from the hospitals where the victims were taken told Daily News Egypt on condition of anonymity that the number of dead and injured is expected to rise.
Security sources told state TV that the IED resulted in a “massive blast”.
A preliminary statement by the Ministry of Interior said that the Cairo Security Directorate received a notification on Sunday morning, indicating that an explosion took place in the cathedral’s surrounding area, resulting in deaths and injuries. The ministry’s statement did not clarify the number of casualties.
The Health Ministry issued a statement confirming the state TV’s narrative of 25 deaths and 49 injured people.
The Interior Ministry asserted that a large number of police personnel, firefighters, and explosives experts are present at the scene, saying that the number of casualties is still being assessed.
In the same context, a number of people staged a protest in front of the scene of the attack, expressing their anger about the incident. The protestors called on the state to immediately hold all security officials accountable for the explosion, including the Ministry of Interior, witnesses told Daily News Egypt on Sunday on condition of anonymity.
Prime Minister Sherif Ismail and Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar arrived at the explosion site one hour after the attack, which took place at 10am, the eyewitness added.
Directly in the aftermath of the explosion, the US Embassy in Cairo expressed its condolences to the families of the victims through its official Twitter account.
The tweet read: “Embassy mourns those killed in hateful attack on Christians at Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo.”