Update: Copts accuse authorities of laxity, cancel Christmas celebrations

Coptic websites criticized the performance of security bodies after the Alexandria church bombing early Saturday morning left 21 people killed and scores more injured.

Al-Aqbat Muttahidoun (Copts United), a website closely connected to the Egyptian Coptic Church, and, a website for expatriate Egyptian Copts in the US, said Egyptian authorities failed to secure churches properly and were slow to react in the aftermath of the incident.
The explosion, the first website claimed, happened after a group of Muslim extremists on Friday morning staged a protest in which they chanted slogans attacking Coptic Church leaders, expatriate Copts and the Coptic pope, describing them as “traitors”.
The protesters, the website said, called for the release of Camilia Shehata, the wife of a Coptic priest who allegedly converted to Islam, “and all other Coptic girls who converted to Islam” held by the church. They also called for the inspection of churches for weapon caches. said the police used batons to disperse Copts who gathered following the attack, while Muslims kept flocking to the scene.
The website further quoted the head of public relations at the St. Mark hospital as saying that the Egyptian Red Crescent refused to give blood bags to help the victims.
Meanwhile, the Coptic Church decided to cancel the Christmas celebrations of 7 January in solidarity with the bombing victims.
During last year’s Christmas celebrations, three Muslims fired randomly at a group of Copts in Naga Hammadi, killing six as well as a Muslim guard. It was the bloodiest sectarian incident since the 2000 Kosheh incident, also in Upper Egypt, which led to the death of 21 Copts and one Muslim. Copts and other observers said Egyptian security did not secure the celebrations properly.

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