Egypt: 21 Murdered in Terror Attack at Church
A bomb attack killed 21 people outside a Coptic church in Alexandria, Egypt late Friday night. Another 24 people were wounded.
The bombing took place as worshipers left a church following a New Year's Eve service. Officials initially suspected that a car bomb was used.
...senior officials in both the Coptic Church and the government pointed fingers at al-Qaeda, which has previously threatened attacks on non-Muslims in Egypt.
The attack follows months of growing anti-Christian violence in Egypt. Six Christians were murdered in a shooting attack in January, and in November one Christian man was killed by police and 156 were arrested during a protest over construction of a church.
The UK-based Barnabas Fund, a Christian advocacy group, has expressed fears for the safety of Egyptian Christians in the face of incitement. Extremist Muslims have accused Christians of siding with Israel and of holding captive Christian women who have converted to Islam.
And this from Debka:
Alexandria's Copts were victims of homegrown Egyptian terror
The suicide attack on the Coptic Saints Church in Alexandria, northern Egypt, which left 21 dead and 79 injured after New Year's mass, was carried out by a local Egyptian Islamic Jihad extremist, DEBKAfile's counter-terror sources report.
The rising tide of Islamist terror in Egypt, which exploded in Alexandria on Jan. 1, is thrown up by multiple sources inside the country:
1. Al Qaeda has grown offshoots in the cities lining the Suez Canal, such as Ismailya, Suez, and the towns and villages around Alexandria.
2. For years, Egyptian security forces have tried and failed to uproot the Al Qaeda cells and Egyptian Islamic Jihad fugitives on the run which are entrenched in the rugged mountains at the heart of the Sinai Peninsula.
3. Its routes keep Al Qaeda supplied with weapons, explosives and reinforcements.
4. Egypt and Israel have also been looking the other way as Al Qaeda cells in the Gaza Strip flourish and become increasingly aggressive.
Those cells are largely responsible for the rising number of attacks on Israeli forces patrolling the Gaza border fence.
This article provides for some pertinent history in the region (reports of terrorism that you won't find in the MSM):
Copts account for roughly ten percent of Egypt's population of 80 million. Their Coptic Orthodox Church, one of the oldest in Christendom, was founded in the first century
Exactly a year ago, six Christians were killed in a drive-by shooting outside a church in southern Egypt, and in November police killed a protester during clashes with Copts triggered by a halt to the construction of a church in Cairo. Non-Islamic tourists are often targeted for homegrown Islamist terror attacks, such as the suicide bombing at the crowded Cairo Khan el-Khalili souk on April 7, 2005, in which three tourists were killed, two French and one American. Three months later, on Oct. 30, another terrorist jumped to his death from a bridge into a busy bus terminal from which tourists head out to the different sites across the country. At the same time, two veiled women opened fire on a tourist bus bringing sightseers back from the Saladin Citadel in Cairo.
Those attacks were claimed by the "Egyptian Mujahidin" and "Abdullah Azzam Shaheed Brigades," an ersatz name which many terrorism experts believe is used by al Qaeda's many offshoots in the Middle East and Persian Gulf mask their members' identify.
And we also see this commentary from American Thinker:
More Muslim violence against Christians
We are witnessing martyrs for the faith in our own time. In the latest string of attacks on Christians in the Middle East by Muslim extremists,
A car bomb exploded last night [New Year's Eve] 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.
...many of the faithful gathered outside the charred remains of the car singing "We offer our lives and our blood through the Cross."
On October 31, Al Qaeda attacked and killed Assyrian Catholics in a church in Iraq during Mass. They made a promise to rid Iraq of Christians; they're succeeding.
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.
Just as the first Christian martyrs were slaughtered simply because they followed Jesus, so too our present day Christian brothers and sisters in humanity are being murdered for their faith.
Sadly, we prophecy watchers know that this process of increasing persecution will only worsen as we approach the Tribulation. And during the Tribulation, this persecution will become unthinkably horrific. As mentioned before, it isn't too soon to begin praying for those souls who find their way to Christ during the Tribulation. Just the ability to survive during that period will require heroic efforts of epic proportions.
Update: Also worth reading:
The Olive Tree Initiative: A fig Leaf for Anti-Semitism?