An explosion near a Coptic cathedral in the Egyptian capital has left at least 25 people dead and 31 others injured, local media reported.
The blast occurred in Cairo’s Abbassyia district early Sunday morning, according to the government-sponsored Al-Ahram daily, citing the health ministry.
“Security forces are searching and screening the area,” the Al-Ahram’s website reported.
Al-Ahram reports the Coptic Church’s official spokesperson Rev. Paul Halim says the explosion took place in the small church of St. Peter and St. Paul attached to the cathedral.
It is called St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral.
The explosion comes just two days after two bombs killed six police officers and a civilian in Giza’s Haram district on the street leading to the pyramids.
Copts face persecution in Egypt
Copts have faced persecution and discrimination that spiked after the toppling of Hosni Mubarak’s regime in 2011. Dozens have been killed in sectarian clashes. There is also little Christian representation in government.
Coptic Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s 80 million residents, according to the CIA’s World Factbook They base their theology on the teachings of the Apostle Mark, who introduced Christianity to Egypt, according to St. Takla Church in Alexandria, the capital of Coptic Christianity.